Baltimore's social map took center stage at TEDGlobal [video] - Baltimore


Dec. 16, 2014 12:21 pm

Baltimore’s social map took center stage at TEDGlobal [video]

Dave Troy's data visualization shows the city as "a giant high school cafeteria" defined by its cliques.
Using data from social networks, Peoplemaps shows how Baltimore organizes itself online.

Using data from social networks, Peoplemaps shows how Baltimore organizes itself online.

(Via Dave Troy)

Smalltimore is already a pejorative term. But to Dave Troy, that’s not because of the people you keep running into.

“It seems as though we’re living in a small town,” Troy, cofounder and CEO of 410 Labs, said in a talk at TEDGlobal 2014 in Rio de Janeiro (which we highlighted in October). “We see the same people over and over again, but that’s because we’re not really exploring the full depth and breadth of the city.”

Now the video of his full talk has been released. You should check it out:

Baltimore was among the examples Troy presented from his Peoplemaps project, which maps cities using social network data. Troy’s take is currently being featured on the TED website and has garnered more than 200,000 views.

When discussing Baltimore, Troy notes that the African-American and Latino communities who interact mostly through hip-hop culture sit on the opposite side of the spectrum from mostly-white Smalltimore, which interacts through politics, food, culture and, of course, geek stuff.

But, according to Troy, the city’s great uniting force is sports.

Beyond revealing the dividing lines in cities like Baltimore, Troy said the maps created by the project reveal that segregation is a “social construct.”

“What we’re doing with this data is aiming a space telescope at a city and looking at it as if it were a giant high school cafeteria, and seeing how everybody arranged themselves in a seating chart,” he said. “Well, maybe it’s time to shake up the seating chart a little bit.”


Companies: TED, 410 Labs
People: Dave Troy
Projects: Peoplemaps

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