BROOKLYN BOUND(ED)

10 weeks

individual project

university of virginia

fall 2020

arcmap + rhino + grasshopper + photoshop + illustrator + indesign

data visualization + representational convention research

Through an analysis of the underlying methodology for the formation of Brooklyn’s boundaries, this exploration informed a critical reading of boundaries as intentional and subjective constructions. The Census, as a tool constructed around a boundary framework, is studied through various exercises of data representation. New models of representation, disconnected from the limitations of boundaries, present new ways of reading urban cultural landscapes.

Census Tract Data

The Census collects data according to administrative units- in this case census tracts- which are based on the established boundaries of Brooklyn’s neighborhoods.

Most visualizations of this data are visually and representationally constricted by these constructed boundaries.

1776

The establishment of town grids for Gravesend, New Utrecht, Flatbush, and Flatlands, as well as the major connecting roads: Kings Highway and Flatbush Ave.

c. 1820

Expansion of arterial roads connecting the towns of Brooklyn.

1873

The grids established by the original towns of Brooklyn expand to the surrounding areas.

1939

Major highways are constructed in the borough in large public works projects spurred by Robert Moses.

2009

2015

Largest Percentage of Race

Largest Percentage of Race (excluding White)

Exploded Grids

This map shatters the Brooklyn map into its distinct grid areas, proposing a new methodology for drawing Brooklyn’s boundaries.

Neighborhoods

This map shows the existing neighborhood boundaries of Brooklyn. These forms are partially constructed from physical forms, roads and remnants of physical formations, and artificial administrative directives. These administrative units frame how many conceive of, view, and study Brooklyn.
  

These boundaries are not the only way to read Brooklyn. Borders offer a alternative framework, one which explores the areas of transition between conditions.

Language by Census Tract

This map visualizes the most widely spoken language- exempting English and Spanish- within the census tract. The graphic representation of this data reinforces the mental framework of the boundary, separator of difference, and limits readers’ ability to see the multiplicity of language in Brooklyn.

Proposed Methods

The Census collects data according to administrative units- in this case census tracts- which are based on the established boundaries of Brooklyn’s neighborhoods.

Most visualizations of this data are visually and representationally constricted by these constructed boundaries.

Pixelated Field

This map consists of layers of pixelated field maps sorted by year from 2009-2015. Older layers are shaded red while new layers are shaded blue. Areas of a loss in language show red while areas of language increase show blue. Grey represents areas of sustained language presence.

Largest Percentage of Race

Delaunay Tessellation

Delaunay Tessellation is a technique developed in Mathematics, by drawing concentric circles between three points in a field, which shows areas of high or low proximity. In the field of Astronomy, Delaunay Tessellation is used to show the clustering of stars. Here, the Delaunay Tessellations show clusters of ethnic restaurants in Brooklyn.

Polish

One can see discrepancies between areas of restaurant clustering and the densest, most sustained community of Polish language speakers.

Korean

This map visualizes the most widely spoken language- exempting English and Spanish- within the census tract. 

Vietnamese

This map visualizes the most widely spoken language- exempting English and Spanish- within the census tract. 

Gaps in the Map

Language, like typical demographic data collected by the census according to home address. However, culture goes beyond where you sleep. This map draws attention to this disconnect.