Making Neighborhoods

Explore our fabulous interactive map, using an innovative analysis of census data that allows us to track the movement of demographic “clusters” around NYC.

Click the image to access the interactive Making Neighborhoods map

On Wednesday, November 5, 2014, CHPC launched its Making Neighborhoods project, which follows change across the city by putting people at the center of analysis. Our work measures and visualizes the movements of groups of New Yorkers who share demographic characteristics.

The project uses cluster analysis methodology–common in economic or marketing studies–to identify 14 distinct demographic groups, or “population clusters,” in 2000 and follow their locations in 2010. By comparing the two years, we can see which population types grew in number or geographic size, or moved into new areas; if their numbers declined or they retreated from their neighborhoods and were replaced by others; or if groups’ locations remained relatively unchanged in a decade. By following groups of people with shared characteristics, we see a different portrait of a changing city. It is one that New Yorkers will recognize, as it reflects the neighborhoods they make for themselves.

Making Neighborhoods stands out among neighborhood-level research being done today in two ways. First, it disregards government-drawn boundary lines like community districts and sub-borough areas, which often obscure important patterns that cross these borders. Second, it categorizes census tracts based on a combination of demographic characteristics: rather than measuring differences in income, race, immigrant status, education, and family/household type, this study captures differences in all of those dimensions.

Our work on this project includes three main outputs. First, a full research paper details the research methods, the cluster traits, their changes over the study period, and policy implications. We also created a summary report that draws out the highlights of the full paper. Finally, we created–with help from VanDamMediainteractive maps that communicate this fairly complex study in a stunning visualization.

In addition to distilling five overarching trends from the population cluster changes, CHPC also performed an analysis of housing physical and financial distress at the cluster level. By locating the concentrations of lis pendens notice filings and housing code violations, we are able to see which population clusters have more foreclosure starts and poor-quality housing, respectively.

We are excited to launch Making Neighborhoods as a tool that helps policymakers understand the dynamics of change in neighborhoods across the city. It is our hope that experts in other fields–public health, education, or transportation, for example–will engage the results of this study and layer their expertise to our neighborhood maps.

CHPC would like to thank The New York Community Trust for the funding that supported this work and the New York State Association for Affordable Housing, which co-hosted the Making Neighborhoods launch event.

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Full Paper
Making Neighborhoods

The summary and highlights are also available for download here.