In 2009, we remember late professor Mojdeh Baratloo sharing about her work mapping solar potential of rooftops in New York City. The work was conceptual then and open-source data was in the early stages. But last week, Mapdwell, a collective of academics and researchers from M.I.T., launched the site Solar System, which maps solar rooftop potential in eight American cities, including New York, Boston, Washington D.C. and San Francisco, as well as two cities in Chile. The interactive map allows you to select specific buildings and will calculate the cost of installing a solar system (including tax credits), the number of years it will take to pay back the investment, the revenue per year, and the carbon offset.
Map via The Economist
As reported in a recent article in The Economist, Ron Gonen, New York City’s former Deputy Commissioner for Recycling and Sustainability (commonly referred to as the “Recycling Czar”) is hoping to launch a program called Sparky Power, to turn dog poop into energy for the city’s dog parks. Some (less than fun) facts about dog poop in NYC:
Map via Boston Public Library
Back it the early days of New York, Manhattan was narrower, swampy and full of things called slips, narrow slivers of harbor left for boats as landfill extended the coastline. This map from D. T. Valentine’s Manual of the Corporation of the City of New York, currently on display at the Boston Public Library’s American Revolution exhibition We Are One: Mapping the Road from Revolution to Independence, maps the “made and swampland” of New York City and a bit of Brooklyn (then Long Island) in 1856.
Photo via Mashable
Embedded into the sidewalk in front of 110 Greene Street just south of Prince Street is a floating subway map 90 feet long by 12 feet wide. The work has all the quintessential elements of a New York City artist’s story. An artist begins her career on the streets of Soho. She seeks to install a public art piece (supported by a real-estate developer) but has to get it passed by the community board. Then she is mocked by an officer in the Department of Transportation for her idea, this was the 1980s after all. But in an act of persistence, it gets approved, and the piece of work becomes an award-winning piece beloved by residents.
All images via QueensWay Eats
In a few years, Queens will join Brooklyn as the latest New York City borough to receive a major upscale facelift. The change will come with the construction of the QueensWay, a proposed 3.5-mile greenway snaking through Queens’ six neighborhoods. Though it hopes to avoid the over-gentrification that the High Line brought to west Chelsea only a few years ago, the QueensWay seems poised to connect the neighborhoods by repurposing the Rockaway Beach Branch of the Long Island Railroad into park space, currently an abandoned dumping ground.
QueensWay Eats is an effort to provide a little context to the project that most say will change Queens for the better, a map of all the best restaurants within walking distance of the proposed line.
Our interpretation of the Upper West Side (in red)
New Yorkers are having a field day with this data visualization tool from DNA Info, drawing where they believe are the boundaries of their New York City neighborhoods. Urban planners will know well the struggle with the shifting delimitation of boundaries, having to line up data sets between information from the Census, Community Districts and more. And none of this takes into account resident’s psychological understanding of neighborhood edges, or real estate creativity in concocting new neighborhoods.