Map: Park Acres Per Resident in Detroit

DETROITography

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A while back I saw this analysis completed by the WNYC Data News team on park access and wanted to recreate it for Detroit.

There has been a lot of change with parks over the years from the near closing of 50+ parks during Mayor Bing’s time, to an influx of funding to keep them open, then the widespread adoption of parks by community groups, now the new parks master plan, and $11.7 million being dedicated to 40 smaller neighborhood parks this summer.

The map was created by giving every census tract a half-mile buffer and then calculating how many acres of park space fell within those extended boundaries for each census tract. Those acres were then matched to the number of residents living within each census tract.

Some of Detroit’s more populated areas have much smaller parks. With more people and smaller park spaces that leaves fewer acres…

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Map: Children’s Traffic Fatalities in Detroit 2004 – 2014

DETROITography

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In rethinking the Detroit Geographic Expedition and Institute’s (DGEI) maps on “where black children get run over” and “citywide patterns of child traffic deaths and injuries” it became apparent to me that the pattern was partially due to the distribution of children in Detroit (map). For example Southwest has a higher density of children and also more traffic fatalities of children. However, there are some anomalies, such as the higher numbers on North-South streets in the Lower Eastside, on John R. North of Highland Park, and on Conner near the City Airport.

Detroit is known its high infant mortality rate, high rates of gun violence, and poor education system that all contribute to a harsh environment for children. How do we better protect the children in our neighborhoods from cars?

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Map: Detroit’s Digital Divide

DETROITography

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I’ve often shared information here that notes 40% of Detroit households have no access to internet, both broadband and cell phone access. In a city that faces countless issues with connectivity and communicating with pockets of people spread across a large area, there is great potential for internet to bring Detroit together, improve communications, and equalize access – jobs, education, resources, etc.

The latest numbers from the 2014 American Community Survey show Detroit has 95,825 households or 37% of all Detroit households have no internet access. The city sadly ranks #2 nationally for cities with over 50,000 households. The logical next step in saying that 37% of Detroit households have no internet is to then ask where are those households located? Who is impacted?

From the above map you can see the obvious outline of Detroit with low broadband internet access. Downtown, Boston-Edison, Grandmont-Rosedale, Palmer Woods, and a handful…

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Map: What is Greater Downtown Detroit?

DETROITography

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This is somewhat of the same old story where different groups of people with a lot of money don’t agree on what boundaries matter.The question is really less: “what is Greater Downtown” and really more “What will Greater Downtown become?”

Downtown

There have been a slew of recent articles noting the growth and expansion of Detroit’s “heart.” Whatever that means. Bedrock Real Estate and Rock Ventures have pushed the Quicken Loans Downtown plan with Capital Park quickly being renovated, assumedly with the Woodward Corridor being next (M1 streetcar). Dan Gilbert has said that its time to start going vertical Downtown before office space runs out and seems to have firm plans to build skyward on the old Hudson’s site.

Midtown

Always in the news for the events, cultural attractions, and new happenings, Midtown doesn’t have as much new development left except around the edges. There are a handful…

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Map: United Strohs of America

DETROITography

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Detroit’s iconic beer brewer has a storied past of fire brewing beer in copper kettles, switching to near-beer during Prohibition as well as ice cream to finally losing all of its billions of dollars after the company tried to take on national brands without the necessary budget.

Currently Stroh’s is distributed 126 zipcodes in 21 states. The Stroh’s brand is now under Pabst, which manages a number of small yet iconic beer brand names.

My colleague Matt Elliott and I began wondering where can you get Strohs in Detroit right now? Is it on tap anywhere?

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Map: Landscape of Children vs. Elderly in Detroit

DETROITography

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I’ve been interested in the impacts of various issues on children in Detroit, from traffic fatalities to areas with the most children. The flip side, focusing on the elderly, is also very important and often overlooked in current development efforts in the city.

The age balance or imbalance across the geography of Detroit results in some interesting areas where children or the elderly make up a majority. Not surprisingly many of the areas with the most children also have fewer elderly residents. The riverfront has a larger elderly population often associated with the senior apartment high rises. Grand River cuts an interesting pattern along the Westside where there are more elderly above the Avenue and more children below.

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Map: Midtown or Cass Corridor? Responses from the streets of Detroit

DETROITography

midcassDuring the Data, Mapping, and Research Justice workshop offered in August, participants conducted their own data collection based on shared research questions about the Cass Corridor. One question in particular that was brought up was what different people called the area: Cass Corridor or Midtown.

In all 30 people were rapidly interviewed along Cass Avenue, 2nd, and Third Street. Sometimes the workshop participants’ data collection clipboards made people wary, but often the clipboards invited more questions making it easy to engage people on the street, at restaurants, and waiting for the bus. The participants didn’t make it further than Peterboro Street due to time limits in the data collection.

Cass Corridor 11
Both 3
Midtown 16

Midtown was the more commonly referenced placename, but overall the data gave a fairly even representation of the area. If anything the responses collected from people shows the well documented debate over…

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The Future Geographers of Detroit Haven’t Yet Made a Map

DETROITography

In May, I had the honor and privilege to collaborate with the Detroit Future Schools program at the Boggs School to present a series of activities about data visualization. Our main goal was to visualize and understand patterns and relationships.

I ran the mapping activity where 2nd and 3rd graders identified where they lived, how far that was from school, and if they had any classmates who lived nearby. Many of the students didn’t realize they had a classmate who lived very close or similarly, how far some of their classmates lived from the school.

My favorite response to the map was:

“That doesn’t even look like Detroit.”

It is all too easy to get wrapped up in data, boundary lines, and “accurate” depictions of reality. Children can quickly…

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Map: Detroit’s Ubiquitous Places – Church and Liquor

DETROITography

Inspired by Nathan Yau’s work at FlowingData on pizza place geography and grocery store geography, I wanted to see how Detroit’s ubiquitous locations compared. Driving along Van Dyke where there was church after church (many abandoned) interspersed with liquor stores gave me the idea of examining which type of location dominated Detroit’s landscape.

church_liquor_dotIt takes forever to scrape the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) website for active liquor licenses, so I relied on a 2012 dataset that I generated a while back. I then utilized data from Data Driven Detroit with Churches from 2011. The data is not perfect, but unless you have someone actively monitoring every liquor license and every church there is going to be significant change. Notably, the number of liquor licenses have been decreasing since 2009. The next step was to set up a grid that was generally half a square mile squares.

church_gridThere are…

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