Mapping open spaces’ integration into surrounding communities

This week I have been having a lot of fun with maps! I continue to explore what methods will be of most use in determining the accessibility and usability of Boston’s open spaces. I have been comparing open space uses with residential, community, and educational uses. The way the zoning clearances data set is organized there are multiple ways to approach these types of categories. First, each of the 162 zoning uses falls into one of 23 categories, among them Residential, Open Space, Community, and Education.

Using the mean category scores I started making last week, I started mapping some of the categories. 

Bostonmap + geom_polygon(aes(x=long, y=lat, group=group, fill=OpenSpaceMean), data=Zoning_subs_New)+ geom_path(aes(x=long, y=lat, group=group), color = ‘white’, data=Zoning_subs_New)+ scale_fill_gradient(low = “gray”, high = “dark green”) + labs(fill=’Open Space Usage Allowed’)

Bostonmap + geom_polygon(aes(x=long, y=lat, group=group, fill=ResidentialMean), data=Zoning_subs_New)+ geom_path(aes(x=long, y=lat, group=group), color = ‘white’, data=Zoning_subs_New)+ scale_fill_gradient(low = “gray”, high = “dark blue”) + labs(fill=’Residential Usage Allowed’)

Bostonmap + geom_polygon(aes(x=long, y=lat, group=group, fill=EducationalMean), data=Zoning_subs_New)+ geom_path(aes(x=long, y=lat, group=group), color = ‘white’, data=Zoning_subs_New)+ scale_fill_gradient(low = “gray”, high = “dark red”) + labs(fill=’Educational Usage Allowed’)

Bostonmap + geom_polygon(aes(x=long, y=lat, group=group, fill=CommunityMean), data=Zoning_subs_New)+ geom_path(aes(x=long, y=lat, group=group), color = ‘white’, data=Zoning_subs_New)+ scale_fill_gradient(low = “gray”, high = “dark orange”) + labs(fill=’Community Usage Allowed’)

WholeCityResidential

OpenSpaceWholeCity

WholeCityEducational

WholeCityCommunity

I also created a map of all of the subdistrict types. This is another way the data is organized. Most subdistricts are also divided into one of these broader types. Subdistricts of a particular type may still be zoned for usage in categories related to other types, e.g. many of the ‘Residential’ subdistricts on the map below (in red) are zoned for various open space uses on the map above. However the subdistricts in the ‘Open Space’ type below are almost all zoned only for ‘Open Space: Open Space’ and no other uses. Those are in green on the map below. 

Bostonmap + geom_polygon(aes(x=long, y=lat, group=group, fill=subdistric), data=Zoning_subs_New)+ geom_path(aes(x=long, y=lat, group=group), color = ‘gray’, data=Zoning_subs_New)

subdistrics

These different ways the data is organizing give different frames for looking at it, and I’ve found it helpful to look at the information both ways.

Finally, I mapped the city by Zoning Score. One of the first variables I created and still one of the most useful to me, Zoning Score is a measure of how diverse the allowed uses are for a subdistrict. On the map, lighter colors indicate fewer allowed uses, and darker colors indicate more.

Bostonmap + geom_polygon(aes(x=long, y=lat, group=group, fill=ZoningScore), data=Zoning_subs_New)+ geom_path(aes(x=long, y=lat, group=group), color = ‘dark blue’, data=Zoning_subs_New) + scale_fill_gradient (low = “white”, high = “dark red”)

ZoningScoreWholeCity

Mapping all of this information has given me multiple ways of seeing how Boston’s open spaces are laid out, and how integrated they are into their surrounding communities, and has also given me a few starting points for my city exploration for this week.

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3 thoughts on “Mapping open spaces’ integration into surrounding communities

  1. Your maps are so cool! Not only are they visually really interesting, but also very informative. I didn’t know that there is an Education zoning clearance. I would be interested to know where places are zoned for Education, or perhaps more importantly where they aren’t zoned for Education, because it might impact some of the construct I am looking at, access to child care. One of the main components of that is schools. I wonder I would also be interested to see how often the Education zones are near the Open Space zones.

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    1. Yes, there are several (University, elementary school, etc.). I’m not sure our data links up in map terms with the other data, but I could definitely work with you to get the allowances at the NSA_NAME level and maps of any at the subdistrict level if it would be helpful!

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  2. These maps are so visually striking. In the first set, it looks as though there are areas (e.g., South Dorchester) where few of the things you mapped are allowed, even residential (and I think of these as pretty residential areas). All of this makes me think about how we need more mixed use development in the city, and especially beyond Boston. I really like your Zoning Score and the way it points out so well how different downtown and not-downtown are, zoning-wise. One can then ask questions about how zoning has impacted the character of neighborhoods (e.g., has allowing a diverse set of uses made downtown more vibrant?), among lots of other things I’m sure.

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