The Spatial Information Design Lab is now the Center for Spatial Research at Columbia University. Visit our new site at c4sr.columbia.edu to find out about current projects and upcoming events. This site is an archive of work completed up to 2014.

The New Yorker - Criminal Justice Dept.: Rap Map

From water pipes to porn shops, cartographers have charted almost every aspect of local urban life, giving rise to a sort of cottage industry: the New York City specialty map. The latest—and one you are not likely to see unless you run in criminal-justice circles—is a rendering of the city that breaks down, block by block, the home addresses of all New Yorkers incarcerated in a given year. This map won’t get you from Century 21 to the Met. But it does reveal that more prison-bound Bronx residents lived in walkups than in any other type of building, that Staten Island is the most law-abiding borough, and that Brooklyn—nicknamed “the borough of churches”—ran up the state’s highest bill in prison costs.

Eric Cadora and Charles Swartz, co-founders of the Brooklyn-based Justice Mapping Center, collaborated on the project with an architect named Laura Kurgan, at Columbia’s Spatial Information Design Lab. “What started out as a scholarly inquiry has turned into a national initiative,” said Cadora, whose team has mapped twelve cities so far. Their New York is a digital crazy quilt of “bright-against-black”: the areas least touched by incarceration in 2003, the year they chose to study (Riverdale, Bay Ridge, the West Village), appear black and gray; those more so (Coney Island, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Hell’s Kitchen) neon orange.

Visit the link below to find out more: 

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/01/08/criminal-justice-dept-rap-map

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Posted date: 
Monday, January 8, 2007