When it comes to the development of New York City over many, many years, we tend not to see the forest for the trees, so to speak. Here Grows New York, an animated map created by urban development buff Myles Zhang, gives us a seriously forest-eye view of how the city changes from the time the first native American tribes populated the five boroughs in 1609 to the noisy tangle of highways of 2019. Complete with cool facts and a soundtrack, the map visually animates the development of this city’s infrastructure and street grid using geo-referenced road network data, historic maps, and geological surveys, highlighting the kind of organic growth spurts that drive development over time, providing an “abstract representation of urbanism.”
The story of public transit in America is an ongoing one: We need more of it, in more neighborhoods; we need to pay for it; ridership is declining in some places and growing in others. The state of transit often varies wildly depending on the city it serves. Transit Insights, a new visual tool from TransitCenter allows you to compare the country’s transit systems in recent years while looking into factors like regional population changes and density, fare prices, operating costs and how many miles the system covers. Transit Insights combines information from the National Transit Database, the U.S. Census and route maps from Transit.Land into a visual format so you can reference information quickly and easily.
A new map from the Central Park Conservancy includes lots of new information about the park’s playgrounds, trails, restrooms, entertainment areas and other spaces that decodes the park for people with disabilities and/or limited mobility. Helpful information includes information on park terrain, letting visitors know how steep various trails are, and where there are stairs or other potential obstacles.
The New York City greater metropolitan area is home to over a million service members, veterans and their families. To provide an idea of just how many veterans call the city home–and how diverse a community they are– the New York City Department of Veterans’ Services has compiled a set of maps using the most recently available data from the American Community Survey and the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
Natural light is at the top of the list when New Yorkers think about a building’s livability. Recently at the Municipal Art Society Summit for New York City, Localize.city, an AI powered website that provides insights about every address in New York City, unveiled a shade analysis for every building in the five boroughs. The site’s creators say the analysis gives NYC home hunters a way to really determine just how much light any given address gets.
Through a $75,000 Urban Forestry Grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Prospect Park Alliance recently surveyed about 12,000 of the park’s 30,000 trees. The survey provides a nuanced picture of the park’s ever-changing ecosystem and important insights into the economic, environmental and health benefits of “Brooklyn’s backyard.” You can view an interactive map of Prospect Park’s trees and their benefit to the community here; you can also examine the results on the Prospect Park TreeKeeper Interactive Map.
Early designs for Central Park. Image courtesy of the National Park Service, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site.
When thinking of influential creators of New York City’s most memorable places, it’s hard not to imagine Frederick Law Olmsted near the top of the list. Considered to be the founder of landscape architecture–he was also a writer and conservationist–Olmsted was committed to the restorative effects of natural spaces in the city. Perhaps best known for the wild beauty of Central and Prospect Parks, his vast influence includes scores of projects such as the Biltmore estate, the U.S. Capitol grounds and the Chicago World’s Fair. In preparation for the bicentennial of Olmsted’s 1822 birth, the Library of Congress has made 24,000 documents providing details of Olmsted’s life available online, Smithsonian reports. The collection includes journals, personal correspondence, project proposals and other documents that offer an intimate picture of Olmsted’s private life and work. The collection is linked to an interactive map at Olmsted Online showing all Olmsted projects in the United States (and there are many). You can search the map according to project name, location, job number and project type.
As a beta project created by the NYC Department of City Planning, Metro Region Explorer enables you to explore population, housing, and employment trends within the Tri-State New York City Metropolitan Region. The map was developed as part of an ongoing commitment to providing better public access and as a way to better understand information about planning issues that affect the city as well as the region, as many planning challenges are interconnected with the realities of the larger area surrounding the city’s core.
Image: Michael Vadon via Flickr
In 1962, nine of the world’s tallest buildings were south of 59th Street in Manhattan–and things hadn’t changed much by 1981 when five of the tallest towers were concentrated on the same tiny island, which, with Chicago’s three, gave the U.S. nine of the world’s top 10 tallest skyscrapers. If you added Toronto’s entry that made 10. Today, the only U.S. entry the top ten is lower Manhattan’s One World Trade Center. This same tiny island though, is still number two in the world when it comes to concentration of tall towers.
You might be frantically putting the finishing touches on the Thanksgiving feast, stockpiling the “homemade” cookies you’ll bring for dessert, or making sure you’ve got the local pizza joint on speed dial, but Google News Lab knows what you’re up to, of course. Based on data from Google Maps and an analysis of the number of times people request directions to a location, you can find out how fellow New Yorkers (or Angelinos, or Baltimoreans) are planning to spend the precious hours of holiday weekend time.