Saturday, August 17, 2013

Find: New York City's Wealth Gap, Mapped In 3D

Mapping wealth to height feels intuitively right. Why? 

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Visualization of the Day: New York City's Wealth Gap, Mapped In 3D

In a new set of visualizations, Nickolay Lamm, the artist and researcher who made these eerie GIFs of U.S. cities underwater, is drawing attention to the extensive of wealth inequality in Manhattan.

Lamm's inspiration came from standing atop Mt. Washington in his hometown of Pittsburgh and asking: what if you could see the inequality hidden behind the relatively even Pittsburgh skyline? Lamm explained via email why he ultimately decided to explore New York City's wealth gap instead:

I know that, for many people, moving New York City is the start of their journey to achieve the American Dream. The American Dream suggests that if you work hard enough, you can achieve it. However, it's clear that the landscape in order to achieve that dream is not as even and equal as it appears on the surface.

View of Manhattan 

View from Central Park to Harlem 

View from Harlem 

View from Yankee Stadium in the Bronx 

View of Lower Manhattan 

Using the above map of median net worth in New York City (based on 2010 Census data), Lamm created 3D bar shapes for each block. So a block where the median income is $500,000 translates to a 5 cenitmeter bar, $112,000 to 1.12 centimeter, and so forth. Lamm then used Google Earth to make sure the bars were placed accurately on the photos.

What about other cities? Lamm says he may do Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington D.C., Miami, and or Philadelphia next.

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