This map by Tobias Salinger, “Rich Playground/Poor Playground: How Neighborhood Disparities are Reflected in NYC Parks“, a project of NYCity News Service plots the quality of New York City playgrounds against the median income of the community district they reside in. The shades of gray of each neighborhood shows the income level (darker=poorer) and the dots denote the rating of the playgrounds. The map is packed with information:

You can click each district for a profile including the name of the district, the neighborhoods it contains and its median income.


You can also click each playground for detailed descriptions of their merits or deficiencies which often read as ethnographic vignettes.


According to Salinger, NYC’s playgrounds could use a lot of work: “Thirty-one out of the 127 evaluations we conducted—24 percent—led to failing marks of four out of eight or less.” The most commonly failed criteria was that “many playgrounds offer children little in the way of unstructured play” such as “sand, building blocks and other elements children can manipulate.” But on the bright side, Salinger also reported that “105 out of 127 were both clean and safe” and that almost all are easily accessible.

The criteria used to rate the parks, developed “using research by the Project for Public Places and the Urban Parks Institute”  included accessibility, context with surrounding neighborhoods, equipment, condition, variety of uses, unstructured play, sociability, and places to sit.

Check out the entire map and report here and more awesome work by Tobias Salinger here on his blog.

Get in touch with the author @youngzokeziah. See more maps in our Fun Maps column.

 Fun Maps, NYC Department of Parks, parks, playgrounds, Tobias Salinger

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