The city just created an impressive digital almanac of NYC neighborhoods - Technical.ly Brooklyn

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Sep. 22, 2017 12:17 pm

The city just created an impressive digital almanac of NYC neighborhoods

Williamsburg/Greenpoint has 36,000 people per square mile, street cleanliness is at 90 percent and the mean commute to work is 34 minutes. The numbers are cool, but the additional context is cooler.

The city's Planning Labs just released an almanac of every neighborhood in the city.

(Courtesy image)

NYC Planning Labs released a pretty remarkable project earlier this week, with the unassuming name Community District Profiles.

Why’s it remarkable? Well, Community District Profiles is nothing less than an almanac of demographic stats for every cluster of neighborhoods in the five boroughs.

On it you can find overview statistics like the population and density of neighborhood clusters, down to the percentage of housing units in walking distance to parks and the percentage of residents for whom rent consumes more than 35 percent of their income. You can also see where the community district ranks in comparison to all the other ones in the city.

The goal of the district profiles, according to the city department, is to “[Empower] residents, community board members, planners, and other stakeholders to engage in city planning and advocate for their communities.”

One of the problems of projects like these, where data is shared in large quantities is that it’s hard for lay people to contextualize what numbers mean. Street cleanliness is 90.6 percent. Wow! But, as it turns out, that’s pretty middle of the pack. What’s great about the way this data is presented is that for each statistic there is comparison. Context is key.

This is the first major project by NYC Planning Labs, a newly formed division of the Department of City Planning, led by local map legend Chris Whong.

“I think a lot of what we do will be in building web tools that provide instant access to information through well-designed user interfaces,” Whong wrote in an email to Technical.ly, after the Planning Labs launched in June.

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It’s easy to see how the info in the Community District Profiles would be helpful to businesses doing research for where to build locations and for community activists to bring evidence to discussions, and a whole lot more.

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