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Code for Philly / Data / Hackathons

Gentrifying Philly: This map shows neighborhoods undergoing change

Can new construction point to a neighborhood's revitalization? This mapping tool from Frankford developer Jim Smiley aims to explore that question.

Full Disclosure: Jim Smiley is's contributing web. This project was not part of a initiative.

Can new construction point to a neighborhood’s revitalization?

That’s what Jim Smiley, civic hacker and also’s contributing web editor, wondered as he made Gentrifying Philly, a map (with, you might say, a slightly loaded name) that shows which neighborhoods had the biggest jumps, as well as drops, in construction from 2012 or 2013.

Visit the map here.

You can also check out jumps and drops in construction from years ranging back to 2007, as well as a map that compares 2007-2011 changes to 2012-2013.

Smiley used the city’s permit data and marked a property as “under construction” if it had at least one kind of permit.

He cautioned that the map can be misleading. For example, the North Philadelphia neighborhood of Brewerytown shows a 50 percent drop in construction permits, but that could be in part to the especially high number of properties under construction in 2012.

Smiley built most of the project at weekly meetups with Code for Philly, the city’s civic hacking group.

Smiley also built a map of violent crime near SEPTA Regional Rail stops.


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