Two Tales of One City

Dickens is not my favourite, but that felt an appropriate title for today’s piece from the Washington Post on Chicago residents’ opinions on, well, Chicago. Turns out there is a notable demographic split on how residents feel about various things in the city.

Some of the issues
Some of the issues

Credit for the piece goes to Emily Badger.

Urban Homicide

Today we look at a really nice piece from the Washington Post on urban homicide. It combines big, full-width images that use interactivity to promote exploration of data. But as you can see in the screenshot below, the designers took care to highlight a few key stories. Just in case the reader does not want to take the time to explore the data set.

The growth rate is an interactive piece
The growth rate is an interactive piece

But the piece uses scale to provide contrast throughout the article. Because in addition to the three or four big graphics, a similarly well-thought-out and well-designed approach was taken towards smaller, inline supplemental graphics. Here is an example about the homicide rate for New York.

New York's homicide rate as an inline graphic
New York’s homicide rate as an inline graphic

What I really enjoy about these small graphics is the attention paid to highlighting New York against the background averages provided for context. Note how the orange line for the city breaks the grey lines. It is a very nice detail.

Overall, this is a really strong piece marrying written content and data visualisation.

Credit for the piece goes to Denise Lu.

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

It’s Friday, everybody, so let’s lighten the mood with cruel and unusual punishment.

Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds. No, today we look at a simple two-axis plot or matrix used by Jon Stewart to classify means of death and whether or not they would unconstitutional based on the cruel and unusual clause.

The Cruel and Unusual Punishment Matrix
The Cruel and Unusual Punishment Matrix

Credit for the piece goes to the Daily Show’s graphics department.

Lynchings

Let’s follow up yesterday’s good news story about measles with lynchings. The New York Times mapped and charted historical lynchings from 1877 to 1950 across 12 states in the South.

Locations of lynchings across the South, 1877–1950
Locations of lynchings across the South, 1877–1950

Credit for the piece goes to the New York Times graphics department.

The Perception vs Reality of Islam in Europe

Last week’s terror attacks in Paris highlight the tension in Europe between secular Europe and those believing in Islamist values. The Economist looked at some of the available data and noted the gap between Europe’s perception of Islam and its reality. A quick figure called out for France, French respondents thought 31% of the French population to be Muslim. The reality is a mere 8%.

Perception vs reality
Perception vs reality

Credit for the piece goes to the Economist Data Team.

Hit-and-Run Cycling Accidents in Los Angeles

Today’s piece comes via a colleague. It is an article about hit-and-run cycling accidents in and around Los Angeles. The data visualisation in the article is not entirely complex—we are talking only about line charts and bar charts—but they support the arguments and statements in the article. And in that sense they are doing their job.

Locations of hit-and-run accidents in and around LA
Locations of hit-and-run accidents in and around LA

Credit for the piece goes to Armand Emamdjomeh, Laura J. Nelson, and Joseph Serna.

Investigating the NYPD for Excessive Force

Sometimes complaints about excessive police force are frivolous or vindictive in nature. Sometimes, however, they are legitimate. In New York, the Civilian Complaint Review Board is the first line of investigation. It makes recommendations that the NYPD then takes up. Or not. This piece from WNYC looks at how the NYPD has responded to those recommendations.

What the NYPD chose to do with cases in which charges were recommended
What the NYPD chose to do with cases in which charges were recommended

In total, the piece is a guided story. Each step morphs the data into a new display. Overall a small, but quite nice piece.

Credit for the piece goes to the WNYC graphics department.

Mass Shootings in the United States

America loves its gun. The big draw of this piece from the Washington Post is the illustration of the guns used in the mass shootings and whether each was legally or illegally acquired. But more interesting from a data visualisation standpoint are the charts below. They show the numbers of killers, victims, and then the demographics of the killers.

Killers and Victims
Killers and Victims

Credit for the piece goes to Alberto Cuadra, Richard Johnson, Todd Lindeman, Ted Mellnik, and Kennedy Elliott

Alcohol-related Traffic Fatalities

Earlier this year the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended changes in the current blood alcohol limits to reduce youth drunk driving. The NTSB wants the limit dropped/increased from 0.08 to 0.05. Fun side note, technically, the NTSB needs to have the states enact this on their own accord because such limits are not federal power. Instead, the federal government uses the threat of witholding federal transport money as a means of urging states to comply.

Anyway, the New York Times took a look at the data on fatal crashes and blood alcohol in two heat charts. The first looks at the ages of drivers. The youth problem is self-evident.

Alcohol-related traffic fatalities by age
Alcohol-related traffic fatalities by age

Toggling to time of day shows perhaps a more commonly thought pattern: drunk driving rises significantly after midnight.

Alcohol-related fatalities by time of day
Alcohol-related fatalities by time of day

In general I think the piece is very successful. In particular, the breakout or separation of the new limits shows in clear relief how important those three hundredths could be in lowering alcohol-related traffic fatalities. And as seems to be increasingly the case with at least the Times, the use of annotations makes the story told by the data far clearer.

Perhaps the only design quibble I have is the shape of the squares. The rounded corners create weird, little white gaps between cells. And especially in the darker fields, they distract me more so than small, thin borders otherwise would.

Credit for the piece goes to Alastair Dant, Hannah Fairfield, and Andrew W. Lehren.

Terrorism in the United States

Terrorism is not new to the United States. As this graphic from the New York Times shows, even in recent decades, we experienced quite a lot of it. In 1970 there were over 400 attacks. However, since 2001, the United States has seen far fewer attacks. Fortunately the Boston Marathon bombing is not as bad as it could have been. But even then, thankfully the bombing is a relative anomaly.

Incidence of Terrorist Attacks in the United States
Incidence of Terrorist Attacks in the United States

Credit for the piece goes to the graphics department of the Times.