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The slick interactive map titled Envisioning Development: What is Affordable Housing? [envisioningdevelopment.net] solves the questions "Who lives where?" and "Who can afford to live here?".

Users are able to select individual neighborhoods in New York City and investigate the number of families in each income category on an animated bar-graph-like construct at the bottom of the page. Selecting the question 'Who can afford to live here?' allows for the exploration of more detailed rent price information.

Housing is 'affordable' if one spends 30% or less of income on rent or mortgage payments.

See also Social Explorer. Via @DataMasher.


I find the map pretty disappointing, actually. There's no ability to normalize the values as percentages. There's no easy ability to compare one area to another by high-lighting more than a single area except at the borough level. There's no ability to aggregate multiple areas. There's no availability of auxiliary demographic data, for instance on actual average family size, race, age distribution, etc. by area, that would make for much richer information delivery. A slick disappointment.

Wed 02 Dec 2009 at 9:55 AM

Hi Seth,
Thanks for your helpful comments about the map. I know it's a little out of context here, but just to give you the back story, the map was created as part of a larger Affordable Housing Toolkit that CUP and other organizations use to lead workshops to help residents of the city understand the terms around affordable housing that developers and the government use. It's intended for a lay audience with little interest in data or mapping, and is more of a tool to get people to see what's going on in their own neighborhoods so that they can talk with officials that are making decisions about what gets built. Anyway, that's why there's not complex data manipulation available. Some of your ideas are interesting and we may explore them in future developments, but for now I think we're really focused on reaching our target audience of lower income residents throughout New York City. We're a nonprofit and area also limited by a very small budget! I think we've done pretty well by that with a lot of hard work from Sha Hwang and Glen Cummings. Thanks for checking it out.

Thu 03 Dec 2009 at 5:53 AM
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