Posts tagged with "Maps":

Placeholder Alt Text

All the toxic sites in two of Brooklyn’s most expensive neighborhoods, mapped

On a Jane's Walk tour of the Williamsburg-Greenpoint industrial waterfront last year, our guide gestured to the luxury-high rises that have sprouted from former industrial areas along Kent Avenue in recent years. "See those buildings? See all the strollers? EVERY SINGLE ONE of their kids is exposed to TOXIC POISON." Though the North Brooklyn neighborhoods are now known for servicing the lifestyle needs of bourgeois bohemians, the cold-press juice shops and midi-ring purveyors are, a new map confirms, laid on a foundation of seriously toxic earth. Yesterday Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG) launched their ToxiCity Map, an interactive tool that shows how environmental risks correlate with the neighborhoods' population density, average income, and health outcomes. NAG advocates for policies that promote "healthy mixed-use communities," works with Williamsburg and Greenpoint residents to access the waterfront, and partners with citizens and businesses to reduce area environmental threats. The map was created with the help of a NYS Department of Environmental Conservation grant in partnership with Pratt Institute's Spatial Analysis and Visualization Initiative (SAVI). The ToxiCity Map lets users pinpoint environmental hazards and gives an idea of how specific hazards could impact a given neighborhood zip code. Waste transfer stations, scrap metal and recycling sorting facilities, for example, are all sites which divert materials from the waste stream but are often surrounded by idling materials delivery trucks that degrade air quality. The location of these facilities can be overlaid onto district asthma rates: The map suggests that the number of waste transfer stations is positively correlated with higher rates of asthma. On the toxic waste side, the map features fine-grained explanations of the difference between, say, highly regulated sites versus "E" designated sites, or spills versus brownfields versus Superfund sites. Handily, the map links to the group's industrial history walking tour, the same one this reporter took last year.
Placeholder Alt Text

Navigate the Classical way through Rome with the Nolli map on your iPad

The Nolli map, a product of twelve years of copious research by Italian surveyor Giambattista Nolli, is a navigational tool that has truly stood the test of time. Completed over 250 years ago in 1748, the map has now found another breath of life thanks to app developer Martin Koppenhöfer. Originally engraved into twelve copper plates, Nolli's map was the most accurate representation of Rome available. While that may not be the case today, the map has retained much of its accuracy over the years thanks to Rome's preservation, with notable landmarks such as the Colosseum and Pantheon still standing tall. This veracity can be seen when the map is over satellite imagery of Rome, as can be seen below. Subsequently, viewers can explore how Rome has developed as a city since the map's creation. Vehicle travel was, of course, not a factor in 1748, though Koppenhöfer commented that "pedestrian navigation is very different… you don’t have to know every street or turn, just go into the right direction.” “In designing the present edition,” Koppenhöfer continued, “we have spent great care with the aim to be as close to the original as possible regarding the labeling and the structure of the directories. Therefore the app reproduces....[the] notation as provided by Giambattista Nolli in his indices. By selecting an entry you will be led to the corresponding location on the map. You can also browse by tapping on one of the numbers on the map to see what it is about.” Available on iOS devices, the map is also usable online. Here, courtesy of University of Oregon, the map is accompanied by a series of essays relating to the map. For example, The Walls of Rome by James Tice and Allan Ceen from the university's Department of Architecture analyze Rome's city walls from the 8th century B.C. to the 1500s. Using the map, they outline the city perimeter at various dates: "The wall circuits of Rome provide a frame of reference for the city both as a measure of its growth and prosperity and also as a testament to the vicissitudes of a great city, its image of itself, and the practical needs for security during times of travail and even during times of peace," they say. Another essay by James Tice, The Forgotten Landscape of Rome: The Disabitato, looks at how Nolli's map illustrates Rome's former uninhabited and forgotten places. Other texts look at the cartographic qualities of the map. As for the map itself, “The explanations of the signatures and line styles,” said Koppenhöfer, and “hatches and selected abbreviations are reproduced in their original form. You can access Nolli’s original spelling of the indices, legend, and other signs at the bottom of the English version in Italian language.”
Placeholder Alt Text

Pratt releases online map of NYC’s socioeconomic data and built environment

The Pratt Center for Community Development has launched an online mapping tool called the Neighborhood Data Portal for New York City. According to the portal website, “[the Pratt Center for Community Development believes] everyone, especially those without access to expensive mapping software, should have equal and free access to essential data about their neighborhoods.” The portal map's datasets relate to socioeconomics, demographics, crime statistics, the built environment, and more. For instance, a user can see all of the city's commercial-use properties or chemical bulk storage sites. Each of these datasets can be layered on the interactive map. The Layer menu appears when the portal is opened but can also be accessed by clicking on its icon on the main toolbar at the top left of the map. Checking one of the boxes in the Layers menu will reveal shading or icons on the map. These components can be selected to show a pop-out box with further information. Some other features on the main toolbar are the type of base level map, measuring tools, and the option to share the map. Selecting the Neighborhood Tabulation Areas (NTA) layer will display the borders for different New York City neighborhoods. By clicking within the boundaries of an NTA, users can see detailed information about that area including the population, number of vacant lots, number of schools, and crime statistics. An instructional video for the portal notes that “[color shaded] layers cannot be turned on simultaneously as visible sets of data invalidate each other.” The data was compiled from a long list of city, state, and federal government agencies as well as some private organizations.
Placeholder Alt Text

The one online map for NYC’s built environment, from zoning to water quality to capital projects

Maps of New York City are ubiquitous but one online interactive map of New York City offers multiple tools relevant to architects, designers, contractors, and gives Google Maps a run for their money. The map, simply called NYCityMap, can be accessed through the official website of the City of New York in the "Map Gallery" found by scrolling to the bottom of the site homepage. Like any map, NYCityMap displays the roadways, buildings, and parks throughout the area. To the left of the map, however, is a tab titled “Show Additional Data on Map.” When this tab is selected, it reveals a long list of data filters: Capital Projects, City Life, City Programs, Cultural Information, Education, Health Facilities, Landmark, Municipal Boundaries, Public Safety, Resident Services, Service Centers, Transportation, Water Quality, and Youth Services. Within each category of filters are several subcategories. Capital Projects includes Capital Projects Dashboard, Design/Construction, Federal Stimulus, NYC DOT 10 year Capital Plan, and NYC DOT Protected Streets. When one of these filters is selected, the map reveals the location of currently approved capital projects throughout the city. Certain filters are not active until the user zooms in. With the Design/Construction filter selected, orange lines and polygons are visible, indicating where a city project is. These type of projects range from roadwork and sidewalk repairs to energy efficiency retrofits and renovations. To access details about the project, simply click on a road or area highlighted in orange. A small white callout box should appear. If not, zoom in closer to the area and reselect the project. The Transportation category includes a filter for parking, revealing the location of parking garages, parking lots, and combinations of the two. Under the category Water Quality, there is a filter for Best Usage Classification, which distinguishes what areas of the region’s bodies of water can be used for certain activities and functions. The map offers other features besides the data filters. Typing in an address into the search bar will not only show its location on the map but will also provide Additional Information about that specific address (e.g. owner, lot area, zoning, land use). Clicking Map Type in the top-right corner of the map will allow the user to select from historical Aerial Maps or the standard Street Map. So what are you waiting for? Have at it!
Placeholder Alt Text

A new tool lets users see a city’s health through the density of its retail storefronts

Here's a tool Jane Jacobs would approve of: The Storefront Index, created by Joe Cortright and Dillon Mahmoudi of Portland, Oregon–based think tank City Observatory, measures the quantity and density of retail storefronts in cities throughout the Unites States as a proxy for urban desirability. The Storefront Index is predicated on the assumption that the amenities of the "consumer city"—places to get manicures, burritos, a nose piercing, a picture framed—encourage walkability, connect public spaces, and make cities desirable places to be. Mahmoudi and Cortright posit that "the presence, number, and size of storefront businesses in a neighborhood is a new, key indicator of urban economic health and neighborhood vitality." City Observatory hopes planners can use the Storefront index to assess the efficacy of small business growth and retention strategies, as well as plan for walkable retail development in downtown corridors.  The index maps every store that provides the goods and services that facilitate everyday life, but excludes banks and hospitals, as well as stores that sell goods to other manufacturers. Nationwide, there are approximately 2.6 million storefront businesses. In the 51 largest metro areas, there are about 537,000 storefront businesses. What makes a storefront cluster? By Cortright and Mahmoudi's count, storefronts had to be within 100 meters of another storefront. They drew a three-mile radius around each city's Central Business District (CBD), but mapped storefronts outside of that, too. The concentration of storefronts varies drastically from city to city, and confirms what you may instinctively sense from strolling through St. Louis, say, or Philadelphia. The former has a low density of storefronts in the urban core and large areas with no storefront clusters. St. Louis has 426 storefronts in its CBD, coming in front of only Detroit (91) in 51 metro areas surveyed: Philly, on the other hand, has high density clusters scattered throughout the city. The metro area has the fourth-highest number of storefronts in the CBD: Planners, urbanophiles: Rejoice in this new spatial analytic tool, and see how your hometown's storefront index stacks up against neighboring cities.  
Placeholder Alt Text

The sounds of our cities, mapped with emotions

Oftentimes, our interaction with maps is one of translation: graphically-represented roads, streets, paths, rivers, and other geological help us navigate our physical space. But what if we could add another layer of information that goes beyond the merely visual? What if maps could tell us how our cities sound? Chatty Maps uses sounds from human conversations, nature, transportation infrastructure, and other auditory data to create a map of good and bad urban noise. Chatty Maps was produced by four researchers—Daniele Quercia, Luca Maria Aiello, Rossano Schifanella, and Francesco Aletta—whose shared expertise includes social sciences, acoustics, data, and mapping. They culled information from two key sources: an online archive of urban sounds, Freesound.org, and Flickr’s photo archive from 2005-2015.   First, they sorted sounds into different categories. For example, the nature category includes dogs barking, birds chirping, and rain. The transportation category incorporates train, car, motorcycle, and other types of machine sounds. Using geolocated images from Flickr, they then matched sound categories with building types to create positive or negative associations with sounds. For example, sounds emanating from a church (such as bells) would be positive. Motorbikes or jackhammers would be assigned negative emotions. Beyond just pure fun, there are implications for these types of analyses: urban planners could use the data to help address noise pollution or identify areas that could benefit from more green space. There are maps for major U.S. cities: New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle. (No Los Angeles, though). There are international cities too: London, Barcelona, Milan, Rome, and more..
Placeholder Alt Text

Brooklyn-based studio embraces topophilia to craft quilts out of city streets

Brooklyn-based Haptic Labs has created some strikingly beautiful polysilk and cotton quilts with hand stitched topographical accents.

The designs include coastal motifs from Nantucket to Australia, and city terrains that began as a tribute to designer Emily Fischer's mother Peggy who started to lose her eyesight from complications of macular degeneration. The first Haptic Lab quilts were meant to be used as tools for the visually impaired, and everything the studio designs is inspired by the tactile over the ephemeral:

Haptic designs counter the rapid digitization of our lives by privileging the real, physical world our bodies occupy. Like a cane that safely guides someone down the sidewalk, our projects serve as tools for sensation. We make intricate quilts, kites, furniture, and environments that combine new technologies with traditional craft techniques—infusing a sense of play and timelessness into everything we make.
The City Quilt series employs subtle white-on-white stitching to inscribe a city's streets into fabric. The queen-sized City Quilt for the studio's home borough covers Coney Island through Greenpoint, and, like the other quilts in the series, is stitched in India, and is made of 100 percent cotton. The result is an intricate and subtle homage to 12 major metros, five of which are pictured below: The newest collection, debuting at the Architectural Digest Design Show in NYC, includes faceted maps of the world made in partnership with the Buckminster Fuller Institute, using Architect Richard Buckminster Fuller's original Dymaxion drawings.
Placeholder Alt Text

Visually impaired students get help navigating Rutgers University with help from 3D-printed maps

For visually impaired students, navigating around a building or a college campus is often a challenging task. That's set to change, thanks to Jason Kim and Howon Lee, researchers at Rutgers University School of Engineering in New Jersey. The duo has developed 3D printed braille maps of their campus. Kim, a senior mechanical engineering student and Lee, an assistant professor at the Joseph Kohn Training Center (an institution that helps the visually impaired), designed the maps with the help of CAD software, SolidWorks 3D. When complete, the maps are about the size of a standard iPad. Like normal maps, some will be fixed to the walls of the university, however, these will only offer a limited selection of braille labelling. The maps are intended to be carried around in a binder by students for easy access personal reference.   https://youtu.be/nvo3Z9Af1so Before starting the project, both said they knew nothing about the format of braille and had a lot to learn. Visiting the Joseph Kohn Training Center multiple times the pair received feedback from faculty and students, being able to finish the map by the end of summer. “One of the things we saw with conventional braille printed on paper is that it doesn’t last long,” Lee said. So far, only one map has been produced, though Lee hopes to lower production costs with the aim for every interested student to have a map by the start of the new first semester. Lee also spoke of his interest to develop more maps for the rest of the Rutgers campus and city of New Brunswick, NJ. The idea is to “give freedom, extended freedom, to navigate and go from one place to another without worrying too much,” he said.
Placeholder Alt Text

This 3D topographic installation raises questions on the high cost of housing in New York City

Besides the overcrowded L and the overabundance of Starbucks/Chase Banks, one of New York's favorite things to kvetch about is the rent: it's too damn high. Now, through Wage Island, an installation created by a New York–based interaction and information designer, it's possible to see in 3D how much housing really costs in this city. https://vimeo.com/138549946 Ekene Ijeoma's Wage Islands sprang from the designer's conversations with Fast Food Forward, a labor advocacy organization that's pushing for a higher minimum wage for fast food workers. Compelled by the group's commentary on how difficult it is for minimum wage workers to pay for housing, Ijeoma put his designer's training to work, correlating median monthly housing costs of each neighborhood with the amount one would have to earn to afford to live there. "This created a poetic way of creating empathy between minimum wage workers and citizens they serve; making the issue about everyone," Ijeoma mused. He collaborated with a team of six to execute the GIS modeling of New York City, design and build the model, and program the Arduino board that controls the islands' topography. Wage Islands was commissioned for Measure, the Storefront for Art and Architecture’s exhibition that ran from August 14 through September 19, 2015. The map's elevations are comprised of over 500 pieces of laser-cut acrylic. Elevations are derived from median monthly housing costs in different neighborhoods, with $271 on the low end and $4,001 at the top. The islands are situated in a tray filled with blue-black water. The user can adjust the amount of water in the box by scaling wages up from the city minimum of $8.75 per hour to a high of $77 per hour. The tallest peaks represent the most affordable neighborhoods; those who make at least $77 per hour have the luxury to choose Manhattan's tony Tribeca or Brooklyn's Brownsville, one of the city's poorest neighborhoods. Precision, and reflection on the real world factors that go into determining affordability, is scuttled in favor of highly evocative representation. New York is a renter's city: Less than a third of residents own their own homes. When asked what data was used to gauge median rents, Ijeoma explained that "this was more about looking at New York City together and not separating the different neighborhoods and people from the larger issue." He used the American Community Survey's (ACS) median monthly housing costs as a stand-in for median rents, although ACS data covers both housing costs incurred by homeowners and renters. 69 percent of New Yorkers rent, not own, so the choice to rely on this ACS dataset is unclear. The American Housing Survey, however, has fine-grained data on renters for major metro areas.)

Like Fannie and Freddie, Ijeoma pegs affordability to spending no more than 30 percent of one's income on housing. That's sensible advice, but more than half of New Yorkers are, by this measure, rent burdened, spending over 30 percent of their income on rent.

Affordability guidelines are generally broken down by the number of bedrooms per unit as a proxy for household size. Instead of looking at average rents across neighborhoods, or rents for units of one particular size, Ijeoma dismissed those nuances as irrelevant for this project, as "[the data] would've more or less looked the same because of the geo-spatial interpolation and translation into 3D."

Currently, Ijeoma is doing a stint at Orbital as a designer-in-residence, where he's working on a mapping project that covers a broader swath of America, as well as a project that addresses social media–engaged phone-zombies who blunder through the streets of New York.
Placeholder Alt Text

This mapping tool shows the effects of gentrification and displacement in the Bay Area

Researchers at UCLA and the UC-Berkeley are mapping neighborhood change in the Bay Area. The Urban Displacement Project uses government housing, land use, transportation, and Census data from 1990–2013 to find markers that represent turnover in housing, demographic shifts, and new investment. Led by UC-Berkeley's Karen Chapple and Miriam Zuk, researchers divided the nine-county Bay Area’s 1,569 Census tracts into low- and high-income tracts. Low-income tracts were defined as areas where 39 percent of households earn 80 percent less than each county’s median income, and high income tracts where less than 39 percent of households are considered low income. Low- and high-income tracts were categorized by residential displacement “risk factors.” Significantly, the report defines “gentrification” and “displacement” differently. Displacement is defined as a net loss of low income residents, while “gentrification” is tangible evidence of neighborhood investment and/or an influx of more affluent residents. This is important because, as the researchers found, gentrification in some areas happened before displacement, while in others, displacement comes first or occurs at the same time as gentrification. Lower income tracts were assessed for risk of gentrification and displacement, while higher income tracts were assessed for displacement risk only. Overall, 51 percent of tracts did not experience significant displacement, while 48 percent are losing low-income residents. Researchers found that 422 tracts are “at risk” of displacing poor residents, while 165 are “currently experiencing displacement.” The map is intended as a resource for community groups taking action to prevent displacement. The data is retrospective, shedding light on regional population trends. Planners, however, cannot use the data to make sure predictions about where gentrification and displacement is likely to occur in the future. The data doesn’t reveal where displaced residents move to, or account for other qualitative factors that may prompt a move. Transportation planning and development can benefit a lower-income area, if officials take into account the economic and social needs of the existing population. Some areas, including  East Palo Alto, and Marin City, have actively forestalled displacement with housing subsidies and community organizing.
Placeholder Alt Text

Open data from Transport for London spurs 3D axonometric plans of the Tube so passengers can mentally map their next trip

Now you can strategize your next rush-hour skedaddle through the labyrinthine London Underground ahead of time—and choose all the right shortcuts. Transport for London (TfL) has released a series of 3D axonometric maps of the world’s oldest tube network, following a Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) request by Londoner Georges Vehres. While revealing the sheer intricacy of the Underground’s tunnels and the country’s longest escalator at north London’s Angel station, the set of 124 maps documenting stations A through W are not to scale, as becomes obvious by the unrealistically steep stairwells. Passengers can now devise a mental map of their most frequently-used stations. TfL’s release of a trove of public transport data following the FoIA spurred London-based visual developer Bruno Imbrizi to create 3D maps of his own that display the movements of all trains in the London Underground in real-time in brilliant color. Technically, the data is real-time accurate only from the moment you load the map, as it represents a prediction from TfL for the next 30 minutes of activity. Trains take the shape of shifting rectangles along a lace-like lattice of tunnels, disappearing and reappearing behind orbs representing each station to the tune of a soothing underground soundtrack.
Placeholder Alt Text

This map sheds light on Chicago’s $1.7 billion in tax-increment financing projects

The open-data site Chicago Cityscape has mapped hundreds of construction projects receiving public support through the city's increasingly controversial tax-increment financing (TIF) system. (Full disclosure: Chicago Cityscape is run by Steven Vance, who contributes to AN) A common economic development tool for municipal governments, TIF can incentivize construction projects by offsetting a developer's property taxes. But as numerous in-depth reports from the Chicago Reader have made clear, in Chicago the program has historically been used more like a slush fund for the mayor's office, with money often landing in the coffers of downtown projects instead of the economically depressed areas where it's supposed to spur job growth. In 2011 Mayor Rahm Emanuel campaigned in part on improving government transparency, vowing less than one week into his first term to return TIF “to its roots.” Controversial TIF awards continue to emerge, however, accumulating predominantly in the city's central business district as the mayor gears up for his second term. Chicago Cityscape's map is accompanied by a spreadsheet of public city data sortable by project name, approval date, TIF assistance amount, total project cost, ward, and community area. In all there are 379 entries displayed, but that excludes projects listed by the city in another data set—the City of Chicago TIF projects portal shows TIF projects through other agencies, such as the Chicago Department of Transportation.