Monday, we brought you news of a new effort to create online and offline tools for New York renters--giving them a chance to better know their neighborhoods, and a better sense of their rights.
Today, we're zeroing in on the online element, an interactive map of incomes across New York's neighborhoods. It was created by Sha Hwang (who has a dayjob at the superb Stamen Design) for the Center for Urban Pedagogy.
Aside from the awesomeness of the graphics--they change on the fly as you click on various neighborhoods--what leaps out at you is a story implied by the data.
As any New Yorker can tell you, the rents in these neighborhoods actually have almost nothing to do with the mix of low- and high-income residents. For example, a one bedroom in Chinatown would probably cost you upwards of $2,700. And yet in the graph, it looks like an overwhelmingly low-income neighborhood. My own neighborhood of Carroll Gardens looks far richer, but a one-bedroom here will run you about $2,000. (The rental data in the chart seems off--You'd need a time machine to find a $900 one-bedroom anywhere remotely close to where I live. The rental data you see in the graph is user generated, since average rents weren't available.)
Partly, you can thank rent control for that: In an effort to force mixed-income living onto neighborhoods, many buildings have apartments with set rents. And when there are some paying below market rents, that artificially lowers supply--and raises prices for everyone else.
Now, mixed-income living is a virtue in a city like New York. But how many people realize that they're paying for it, every month, in their rent checks?