Thank you Emily Badger (Atlantic Cities) for posting "Enough Already With the Avoid-The-Ghetto Apps." I shouldn't be astonished by an app named "GhettoTracker" (renamed "Good Part of Town") -- but with gentrification and growing interest in urban spaces by the middle class, these type of apps/websites shouldn't be surprising.
The Urban Institute created a mapping tool that tracks poverty and racial segregation using detailed Census data for
every metro area in the US from 1980-2010. The above maps represent Washington, DC in 1980 and 2010. The maps provide visual evidence of the effects of gentrification in the metro area, especially comparing the urban center versus the suburbs.
Evgeny Morozov wrote an interesting article, "My Map or Yours?," for Slate critiquing
Google’s plan to personalize maps. I agree with Morozo that there are social implications that need to be considered.
From the article:
“Google's urbanism, on the other hand, is that of someone
who is trying to get to a shopping mall in their self-driving car. It's
profoundly utilitarian, even selfish in character, with little to no concern for
how public space is experienced. In Google's world, public space is just
something that stands between your house and the well-reviewed restaurant that
you are dying to get to. Since no one formally reviews public space or mentions
it in their emails, it might as well disappear from Google's highly
Atlantic Cities posted an interesting article on a research project from Humboldt State mapping hateful tweets. The interactive map can be found here. The maps illustrate the persistance of prejudice and hate in the US.
The above chart from the Washington Post article "Tree canopy’s density indicates wealth of D.C. neighborhoods" attempts to illustrate a correlation between tree coverage and income in D.C. In many ways this article states the obvious--wealthier neighborhoods tend to have more trees. The authors quote environmentalists' arguments about the benefits of trees and briefly mention real estate advantages. However, I think this issue deserves deeper explanation. This is an interesting research topic. Does tree coverage matter?
The Atlantic Cities posted "America's Most Post-Industrial Metros" listing the top 20 metro areas with populations over 1 million that score highest on the ratio of services to goods in America's continuing transition to a post-industrial economy.
The overall ratio of services to goods for the U.S. economy is approximately 3 to 1. The post-industrial economy is most prevalent in the Northeast corridor (Boston to Washington, DC). The Washington metro area is the highest with a ratio of 11.17. The New York metro follows with a ratio of 9.86. Interestingly, the Miami metro area follows with a ratio of 7.75.
The DC and NYC metro areas have a higher concentration of professionals, but I would guess that Miami has a higher ratio of service jobs in comparison to professional jobs. It would be interesting to compare income levels with the services to goods ratio to also consider rising inequality in post-industrial metro areas.
"The number of suburban residents living in poverty rose by nearly 64 percent between 2000 and 2011, to about 16.4 million people, according to a Brookings Institution analysis of 95 of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas. That’s more than double the rate of growth for urban poverty in those areas.
'I think we have an outdated perception of where poverty is and who it is affecting,' said Elizabeth Kneebone, a fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-author of the research. 'We tend to think of it as a very urban and a very rural phenomenon, but it is increasingly suburban.'"
The post features a mother and daughter in Connecticut--however, I am interested in the statistics for the Washington, D.C. area. I suspect that this is happening in the suburbs of the DC Metro area despite local news stories commending the area economy and low unemployment rate.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's decision to ban her Yahoo employees from telecommuting has sparked a media firestorm. Her decision, especially as a working mother, has angered her employees, many working mothers, feminists, and policy makers working towards work-life balance. She has also been praised by journalists and business insiders that argue that the boundary between work and home is becoming too porous. Mayer's public declaration that she is not a feminist and decision to build a nursery (with her own money) next to her office has stoked the fire.
Why the strong and contradictory response to Mayer's decision? My dissertation research examines the social construction of the private sphere and the history of work in the home. Working within the home has a complicated history and associations with issues of class. Mayer's decision reveals the problem of class privilege and asks us to question where work belongs? The answers are not simple and too complicated to go into detail here. However, I believe some important points can be addressed in this blog post.
Marissa Mayer's position of power as CEO and financial means allow her to bring her baby to work, a privilege not available to her employees. Mayer clearly believes that work should be first when considering work-life balance for herself and her employees. Productive work belongs in the workplace. In building the nursery, she has brought "home" or "life" to work. However, the angry response to Mayer's decision also reveals the problem of work-life balance and privilege on the part of her employees. For the middle and upper-middle class Yahoo employees working at home means flexibility and placing more emphasis on "life." Productive work can exist within the private sphere. The ability to work at home is also a privilege that is increasingly more associated with socioeconomic status. Mayer's decision threatens a new form of cultural capital that has become increasingly important to knowledge (or what Richard Florida refers to as the Creative Class) professionals.