Here’s some of your rough government data, Milwaukee. With a new cut and polish, you really shine.
This interactive map is built from a simple data series: the ages of 139,931 residential buildings in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The building data, maintained by the City of Milwaukee as part of a larger property database, has been hidden in plain sight for years.
Using only the age of a building plus the shape of the property that it sits upon, this map invites you to explore a city in a new way. Even a casual user can find quick insight in the data – perhaps noting new infill development in Milwaukee’s core (an indicator of urban renewal?).
Or, seeing how past housing booms still shape the nature and distribution of the City’s existing housing stock.
Explore the patterns on your own block – click here for the complete, zoomable map. Learn more about the map’s data and inspiration here.
It’s surprising to see that Milwaukee and Madison are very similar in terms of venture capital investment on a per capita bases. And, they actually “out-perform” the Twin Cities and Chicago metros by this measure.
This map is from the Martin Prosperity Institute and Richard Florida’s recent report on venture capital investment trends. An interesting read.
There are many ways to contextualize America’s growing economic and racial inequality: through the growth of new tech hubs in old industrial cities, the cost burden of inadequate transit access, or simply by comparing the lowest and highest earners in each region.
In the case of Chicago, this series of maps, which show the disappearing middle class since 1970, may be the most striking and easy-to-process yet.
I’d love to see these stats for smaller metros like Milwaukee and Madison. My gut tells me that most of Madison’s start-up/tech investment is going to the ring of not-so-walkable business parks (think Epic in Verona), while a larger share in the Milwaukee area is hitting the urban core.
But, maybe I’m wrong. UWM’s new research park in Wauwatosa certainly is consistent with the Madison trend. Thoughts?
San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood; Cambridge, Massachusetts’ Kendall Square; Lower Manhattan: These are the dense, walkable neighborhoods that have become the new hubs of America’s tech scene, as the center of gravity for venture investment and start-up activity shifts from suburbs to urban centers.
The desire to describe data provenance should not involve a legal requirement that will hinder the freest use of that data. By identifying the best form of citation for their data, government data managers position themselves in a helpful way, demonstrating themselves to be experts on and guides to their data. The best role government can take in the opening of its data is to ensure that it enables the best possible quality of research. It is a far superior role to jealously and inappropriately claiming legal ownership rights to our public data.
In the past, data-laziness was probably more of a threat to humanity. Since systematic data was scarce, people had a tendency to sit around and daydream about how stuff might work. But now that Big Data is getting bigger and computing power is cheap, theory-laziness seems to be becoming more of a menace. The lure of Big Data is that we can get all our ideas from mining for patterns, but A) we get a lot of false patterns that way, and B) the patterns insidiously and subtly suggest interpretations for themselves, and those interpretations are often wrong.
Eleanor Lutz styled a lovely Mapbox theme that makes your favorite city look like it’s orbiting in space. She describes her inspiration:
I’m a big fan of science fiction and computer games, so I couldn’t resist making a space themed map this month. I crammed it full of bright lights and chrome like some of my favorite post-apocalyptic worlds: the Matrix, Battlestar Galactica, and Starcraft.
Modest proposal: make the live feeds from all these hundreds of new security cameras open and accessible to the public. That might make this feel less like Big Brother and more like FaceTime with the neighbors.
Milwaukee was ravaged by multiple smallpox outbreaks in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, leading to the construction of a large public hospital and quarantine complex on the city’s south side. The effects of a particularly deadly epidemic in 1925 were graphed by Dr. Merle R. French – suggesting a mortality rate in the 20% to 30% range.
Dr. French wrote a note describing the patient pictured here: “Picture of smallpox patient taken at S.view Hospital a short time ago. Man was a Christian Scientist who thought that he could by power of mind prevent smallpox. Man died. This is the kind of smallpox we are having.”
By the way, have you seen this Milwaukee history blog: CITIZN65? Definitely have a look – there’s some well-researched posts on Milwaukee’s first House of Corrections and how an old cannon forged in Seville, Spain ended up in Milwaukee.