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.

Civic Data Management: 311 Sanitation Complaints

Civic Data Management: 311 Sanitation Complaints

New York City rolled out it’s 311 call system in 2003 and according to its web site it “is New York City’s phone number for government information and non-emergency services.” That means if New York citizens have a complaint, instead of calling 911 – they call 311. Calls requiring service are logged by location and time. People call about everything from dead birds and potholes to juvenile loitering and noise control. The 311 system has increased citizen knowledge about the ability to complain about municipal services, and therefore, has raised the numbers of complaints logged into their systems. This increase in data has captured the attention of municipal managers through-out the city.

Among the complaints that are logged, New Yorkers use the 311 call system to report missed trash collection to New York City’s Department of Sanitation (DSNY). Incorporation in the 311 program provides DSNY with the ability to create new statistical analysis techniques on their complaint data. Like all 311 calls, complaints are logged, and the department of interest inspects them for service and review. In the case of missed trash collection New York City’s Department of Sanitation (DSNY) reviews the complaints.

Sanitation has always had a system for reviewing complaints, however, their incorporation into the 311 system has offered them a new opportunity to analyze their information spatially. This is because the data now comes with verifiable geographic location information in the form of X and Y coordinates. DSNY also benefits from 311’s advertising campaign because it has widened the amount of people who are aware that they can call 311 about trash collection. The combination of the geographic location information and the new 311 system has caused DSNY to review how they evaluate their complaint data. It has also created a heightened awareness about using the data to look at the spatial relationship between high complaint areas and socio-demographic

This study looks at the spatial patterns of DSNY missed pick-up complaints. It also analyzes whether there is a relationship between spatially clustered complaints and neighborhoods with low density housing, people living in poverty, and minority status.

Collection Complaint Hot Spots and Cold Spots
Collection Complaints Address Locations
Collection Complaint Totals and per Household (DSNY Sections)
Collection Complaint Totals and per Household (Census Block Group)
One and Two Unit Housing and Collection Complaints per Household
Collection Complaints and Block Groups with over 500 One and Two Unit Buildings
Median Household Income and Collection Complaints per Household
Percentage Population White and Collection Complaints per Households
Collection Complaint Hot Spots
Collection Complaint per Household and Totals
Collection Complaints per Street Segment and Density Surface

Among the complaints that are logged, New Yorkers use the 311 call system to report missed trash collection to New York City’s Department of Sanitation (DSNY). Incorporation in the 311 program provides DSNY with the ability to create new statistical analysis techniques on their complaint data. Like all 311 calls, complaints are logged, and the department of interest inspects them for service and review. In the case of missed trash collection New York City’s Department of Sanitation (DSNY) reviews the complaints.

Sanitation has always had a system for reviewing complaints, however, their incorporation into the 311 system has offered them a new opportunity to analyze their information spatially. This is because the data now comes with verifiable geographic location information in the form of X and Y coordinates. DSNY also benefits from 311’s advertising campaign because it has widened the amount of people who are aware that they can call 311 about trash collection. The combination of the geographic location information and the new 311 system has caused DSNY to review how they evaluate their complaint data. It has also created a heightened awareness about using the data to look at the spatial relationship between high complaint areas and socio-demographic

This study looks at the spatial patterns of DSNY missed pick-up complaints. It also analyzes whether there is a relationship between spatially clustered complaints and neighborhoods with low density housing, people living in poverty, and minority status.

Project Team

Contact: Sarah Williams
Research Associate: Nick Klein

Project Contact: sew@mit.edu
Types: Data visualization, Mapping, tagged: mapping, gis, nyc