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Mapping Tools Show Boston's Disparity

By The Boston Globe

July 14, 2015

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Daniel Hartman, a Web developer for the MIT Technology Review, has used new mapping tools to provide a better view of the economic disparities in Boston. Hartman mapped the city's primary Census tracts for a graduate-level class in visualization technologies at Northeastern University.

The maps are based on data from the 2009-2013 American Community Survey, and focus on metrics such as unemployment, rent burden, household income, commute times, home ownership, and families under the poverty level.

The visual is uncanny in the way it shows that public transit is set up for people traveling to work downtown, but poor neighborhoods lack service.

Hartman also says the map "kind of confirms" that "no one can afford to live in Boston."

The Boston Globe used his results to rank city neighborhoods on their performance on the six Census measurements. This grouping revealed which neighborhoods in Boston are, altogether, better off than most, and which are much worse off. For example, areas that have high rates of home ownership and low rent burdens, with higher incomes and low unemployment, are more prosperous, while those with the opposite profile are struggling.

Cities could put such sophisticated data mapping to use when making policy decisions.

From The Boston Globe
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