Philadelphia’s Growth Since the 1940s

I stumbled upon this article last night on philly.curbed.com that takes a look at the growth and slowdown in said growth in Philadelphia. For the purposes of this blog, that included an animated .gif that showed the expansion in the metro area since the 1940s.

At this point I was far from being born…let alone living in the city
At this point I was far from being born…let alone living in the city

My quibble with the piece is that the lighter blue loses out to the darker. And so one really sees the presence of the city at the expense of the growth. I wonder if reversing the two colours or in some other way de-emphasising the areas built up would allow the new growth areas to come to the forefront of the map.

Credit for the piece goes to BuildZoom.

Where is Normal America?

Not every graphic information graphic is a sexy chart or map. Sometimes tables communicate the story just as well. Maybe even better. Today’s post comes from FiveThirtyEight, which examined a claim about what places represent “Normal America”. Turns out that when one looks at the data, here age, race, ethnicity, and education, Normal America is found in the eastern half of the country. And it includes some big cities, notably both Philadelphia and Chicago. The whole article is worth a read, as it goes on exploring states representing Normal America and then places that represent 1950s America.

Where is Normal America?
Where is Normal America?

So where is Normal America? New Haven, Connecticut.

Credit for the piece goes to Jed Kolko.

Mapping a New America

The United States of America consists of 50 states and hundreds of cities. In Sunday’s edition of the New York Times Parag Khanna argued for the switch of priority away from the state-level and to effectively the city-level. We have clusters of cities that dominate and drive the national economy.

The classic case-in-point is Bowash, the megapolis of interconnected cities from Boston to Washington, where there is a plan to extend Baltimore’s MARC public transit train to Wilmington, Delaware. If that were to happen, one could take public transit from the northern suburbs of New York City to Washington through Trenton, Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore. But today, those decisions must be taken as many as six different states. What if it were handled by a single, regional body?

The Great Northeast
The Great Northeast

The above map looks at what a New America could look like, as grouped into seven different regions and their urban clusters.

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

Parking in LA

Today’s piece comes via a colleague with the original article appearing in Wired. The article looks at new parking signs that the city of Los Angeles has proposed. The reason? Parking on streets with multiple signs for parking sometimes make no sense. These signs aim to simplify the communication of those parking regulations.

The proposed new LA parking signs
The proposed new LA parking signs

Credit for the piece goes to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, which was inspired by Nikki Sylianteng.

The Growth of Urban Walmarts

Today’s piece comes via my co-worker and is about the growth of urban Walmart stores. The article is from NPR and includes a nice series of small multiples of store locations in three select cities: Washington, Chicago, and Atlanta. In full disclosure, I live about two blocks from one of the urban Walmarts in Chicago. So go figure.

The growth of urban Walmarts
The growth of urban Walmarts

Credit for the piece goes to April Fehling, Tyler Fisher, Christopher Groskopf, Alyson Hurt, Livia Labate, and Ariel Zambelich.

The Urban Future

Today’s selection is a little old—dating from July of last year—but is still a nice example of an inline graphic supporting the premise of its accompanying article. The New York Times looks at what was then data published by the United Nations on urban growth out to 2030. The article talks about the growth of megacities in lower income countries and those in the tropical regions. So smack in the middle of the article are two stacked bar charts breaking down urban populations into those two categories.

Urban population makeup
Urban population makeup

Personally I would have preferred a series of line charts to better compare the growth—the lack of a common baseline makes it very difficult to compare segments of the bars. But below the stacked bar charts we have a nice table. Those are always good to see. They organise information clearly and make it quick to find what is relevant.

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

The City Liveability Index

Several months ago the Economist looked at city liveability, which in their words looks at safety, healthcare, educational resources, infrastructure, and environment. And, well, it turns out that Canada, Australia, and New Zealand do really well. The only two cities not in those countries within the top-ten: Vienna, Austria (no. 2) and Helsinki, Finland (no. 8).

City liveability index
City liveability index

What I like about the dot plot is the separation of the data into three sections based on city movement. Those moving up on one line, those moving down on another, and then those with no change plotted in the centre. The cities with the most change in each of the movement sections are then called out in bold. Simple, but clear and effective.

Credit for the piece goes to G.S., K.N.C., and G.D.

Growth of Inland Cities

Some of the nation’s fastest growing cities are inland, away from the coast where housing prices are high. To support an article about the demographic shift, the New York Times created this map. Circle size represents growth over a six-year period while the colour of the bubble represents housing prices.

Fastest growing cities
Fastest growing cities

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

Blight, not Panic, in Detroit

A little old, but this graphic from the New York Times explores urban blight in Detroit. The interesting feature about the map is the blue, highlighted section. The designers used Google Streetview to show an actual blighted street.

Detroit blight
Detroit blight

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

Chicago’s Disappearing Middle Class

President Obama has made a big deal recently about income inequality. The story in short is that the rich in the country are getting rich; the poor are getting poorer; and the people in the middle are fewer in number. Here in Chicago, this has meant that over the last few decades, many of the former middle-class neighbourhoods have been gutted of, well, the middle class. Daniel Kay Hertz has created a series of maps to show just how drastic the change has been since 1970.

Chicago's disappearing middle class
Chicago’s disappearing middle class

Credit for the piece goes to Daniel Kay Hertz.