Heatmaps of Rent as a Share of Income in American Cities
January 16, 2014 3:26 PM   Subscribe

Markers of Gentrification: Mapping Rent as a Share of Income Heatmaps showing median rent as a percentage of median income. Note the heatmap colors are not baselined across the cities displayed in the blog post.
posted by stp123 (26 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Their data is severely lacking. According to them, average price per square foot in most of hipster Brooklyn is $0.56. If only.
posted by grumpybear69 at 3:42 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


The closed navy base in Alameda is perplexingly expensive for an abandoned runway.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 3:46 PM on January 16


I am about to move to the Bay Area. I look forward to Metafilter meetups, and also to living in a refrigerator box.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 3:49 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


That seems to be true here in Seattle, too. I can't get the median income or median income overlays to show, but the one for my neighborhood seems quite a bit lower than reality.

I think part of the problem might be that the census tracks they're using don't really comport with actual neighborhoods. So where I live, for example, is in a tract that includes parts of Belltown, SLU, and Downtown. And it contorts in weird ways to include stretches of non-residential areas.

The groupings are curious, and in some cases seem about as gerrymandered as congressional districts. Maybe that's what they're based on.
posted by Vox Nihili at 3:53 PM on January 16


The groupings are curious, and in some cases seem about as gerrymandered as congressional districts. Maybe that's what they're based on.

They are most likely zip codes.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 3:57 PM on January 16


tylerkaraszewski: "The closed navy base in Alameda is perplexingly expensive for an abandoned runway."

It gets utilized pretty frequently by the Mythbusters gang and for movies, so I imagine if there is actually data generated from those uses that gets captured that could be whats going on. I used to do work out there and was out on the runway during the Matrix freeway scene and for several Mythbusters episodes (I didn't have anything to do with either though).

But on topic I found this pretty interesting. We'd like to rent our suburban home and upgrade but the numbers here are pretty depressing - according to this the rate is ~$0.95 a square foot in our area, but I know for a fact on our street alone there are a couple of rentals that are $1.25. Neither one of which will make our mortgage however.
posted by Big_B at 4:00 PM on January 16


Their data is severely lacking. According to them, average price per square foot in most of hipster Brooklyn is $0.56. If only.

When I mouse over Williamsburg, I see $3.50 - $4.30 / sq ft.
The area around Prospect Park is $2-3 / sq ft.

I live in lower Manhattan and thought the price for my area $4.25/sq ft was pretty close to what I pay.
posted by pravit at 4:01 PM on January 16


And I retract my statement. I am clearly incompetent at both reading directions and telling shades of beige apart. Looks like I'm getting a good deal on my apartment for my neighborhood.
posted by grumpybear69 at 4:05 PM on January 16


The rent is too damn high.
posted by buzzman at 4:12 PM on January 16 [6 favorites]


Their data is severely lacking. According to them, average price per square foot in most of hipster Brooklyn is $0.56. If only.

Having noticed that their average income for some census tracts in West Hollywood (also hipsterish and DINK/gayborhood) is under $20K, my guess is that public housing heavily skews the stats.
posted by Sara C. at 4:18 PM on January 16


Well, I'm officially disappointed that the DC MSA has data only for rent/sq foot, and not income or rent/income for DC and VA. It's so complete elsewhere - even has data for my currently maligned hometown, Charleston WV, hardly an urban center.
posted by Measured Out my Life in Coffeespoons at 4:19 PM on January 16


I imagine if there is actually data generated from those uses that gets captured that could be whats going on.

Aren't these figures for residential rentals only?
posted by Sara C. at 4:22 PM on January 16


In Los Angeles the ones that are way out of wack are USC and UCLA campuses where unsurprisingly the "residents" there make a median income of less than $11,000/yr.
posted by wcfields at 4:58 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


One of the curious effects of rent control is that, while the rental costs in these sorts of statistics are almost invariably for new rentals, the income statistics include people who have lived there for a long time and are paying far less than today's going rate.

I'd also like to see transportation costs figured in (as in http://htaindex.cnt.org/).
posted by alexei at 5:06 PM on January 16


Now is my chance to be an insufferable pedant:

This post is about choropleths, not heat maps!
posted by paper chromatographologist at 6:16 PM on January 16 [5 favorites]


They didn't post my census tract. I tried to go to the home page to see if they had it. They wanted my personal information to sign up.

I was interested up until that point.
posted by bukvich at 6:43 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


In my area it's just a bunch of beige and the dark areas are industrial areas. Not exactly an insightful visualization in this case.
posted by zsazsa at 7:12 PM on January 16


I am going to sound super nitpicky here but I don't understand why the scale across the map screenshots is so different from map to map. The "Chicago" one is the entire Chicagoland area plus swaths of northwestern Indiana and genuine farm country, while "New York" is a super tight focus on lower Manhattan and a chunk of Brooklyn.
posted by andrewesque at 7:16 PM on January 16


There is low income housing on the closed naval base.
posted by latkes at 9:09 PM on January 16


Isn't a choropleth a type of heat map?
posted by Carillon at 8:14 AM on January 17


This is at least the second real estate map I’ve seen that purports to have rental price data for housing in Golden Gate Park. People do live there, but they sure don’t pay any rent.
posted by El Mariachi at 11:28 AM on January 17


NPR: Gentrification May Actually Be Boon To Longtime Residents
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:27 AM on January 24


I heard that piece and was tempted to make a FPP about it but also didn't want to get in the argument that would inevitably result.
posted by Sara C. at 10:01 AM on January 24


(Though as someone who took Urban Studies courses in college where gentrification was the main issue up for discussion, I find the study that is the subject of the piece incredibly interesting, and somewhat born out by things I've actually seen as a person living in gentrifying areas.)
posted by Sara C. at 10:02 AM on January 24


All of the above said, I read the guy's CV, and there are a few things that give me pause even as much as I want to agree with the study:

This particular study was published in 2005. It's not news. The fact that it didn't rock the Urban Planning universe back then, and isn't understood as the conventional wisdom almost a decade later, is telling.

There's a long and complicated (and racially tense) history between Columbia University as an institution and Harlem as a neighborhood. Columbia has a strong interest in the notion that gentrification is good for Harlem. It kind of gives me the wiggins that this architecture/urban design professor at Columbia is now going around telling everybody that gentrification is really OK after all.

That said, his book on this subject also has Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, as a case study. Living in Clinton Hill is what inspired me to start thinking in a more nuanced way about gentrification, and there are definitely questions to be asked about how minority home and business ownership affects gentrification (which seems to be right in line with Freeman's academic background). There are HUGE differences between a neighborhood like the Lower East Side in the 1980s and Clinton Hill in the 2000s which are worth studying, and it seems like that's what he's done.
posted by Sara C. at 10:29 AM on January 24


NYMag: Is Gentrification All Bad? [print]
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:28 AM on February 4


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