How Baltimore and Ferguson are similar - Technical.ly Baltimore

Civic

Dec. 30, 2014 8:57 am

How Baltimore and Ferguson are similar

With his TED Talk taking off, Dave Troy releases a St. Louis/Ferguson edition of a visualization project that uses social media data to map communities.
A Peoplemaps visualization of St. Louis/Ferguson, using social media data.

A Peoplemaps visualization of St. Louis/Ferguson, using social media data.

(Courtesy of Dave Troy)

When it comes to social patterns, Baltimore and Ferguson, Mo., look a lot alike, says Dave Troy.

On the heels of a TED Talk spotlighting his Peoplemaps project going live on the confab conglomerate’s website, Troy released an additional map on the TED website that shows data in the St. Louis and Ferguson area.

Baltimore, which is Troy’s hometown, features prominently in the TED Talk. And the city is once again in play when discussing St. Louis — because of the similarities between the two.

See the maps

Social data for Baltimore and St. Louis/Ferguson reveal that both are highly-segregated communities, with white people closely grouped on one side of the map, and African-Americans grouped along another.

“To put St. Louis into a broader context,” Troy writes, “it looks a lot like Baltimore.”

"Cities with this kind of wide gulf between opposite ends of the network that are also accompanied by racial division should perhaps be the special focus of efforts to defuse racial tension."
Dave Troy

Along with race, the two cities are also segregated along similar cultural lines. In both locales, blacks congregate on social media around hip-hop culture and music, while whites are clustered around politics, tech, food, music and art. In both cities, sports fall in the middle.

Given the recent unrest in Ferguson after the death of Michael Brown and non-indictment of the police officer who killed him, Troy entertains the idea that the maps can be used as indicators of where such events will take place.

“Cities with this kind of wide gulf between opposite ends of the network that are also accompanied by racial division should perhaps be the special focus of efforts to defuse racial tension,” he writes.

While it hasn’t been anywhere near the scale of Ferguson, Baltimore has seen plenty of protests and die-ins in the wake of grand jury decisions not to indict the officers who killed Brown and New York City victim Eric Garner. Tensions are flaring again this week after a man who shot his ex-girlfriend in Baltimore County proceeded to “assassinate” two police officers in Brooklyn. On Monday, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz called out a 911 operator for a post on Facebook that said she would rather have her son approached by “so called THUGS” than a policeman.

Advertisement

In his post, Troy offers the data as a tool to “raise our level of understanding of how to approach, measure and ultimately heal these longstanding divides. Because it’s imperative that we break the cycle of tension, conflict and unrest that currently characterizes American race relations.”

Companies: TED, 410 Labs
People: Dave Troy
Projects: Peoplemaps
-30-
CONTRIBUTE TO THE
JOURNALISM FUND

Already a contributor? Sign in here
Connect with companies from the Technical.ly community
New call-to-action

Advertisement

Sign-up for daily news updates from Technical.ly Baltimore

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!