Infographic of the Day: Visualizing Incomes in NYC’s Neighborhoods

Development Kit

Monday, we brought you news of a new effort to create online and offline tools for New York renters–giving them a chance to better know their neighborhoods, and a better sense of their rights.

Today, we’re zeroing in on the online element, an interactive map of incomes across New York’s neighborhoods. It was created by Sha Hwang (who has a dayjob at the superb Stamen Design) for the Center for Urban Pedagogy.

Aside from the awesomeness of the graphics–they change on the fly as you click on various neighborhoods–what leaps out at you is a story implied by the data.

As any New Yorker can tell you, the rents in these neighborhoods actually have almost nothing to do with the mix of low- and high-income residents. For example, a one bedroom in Chinatown would probably cost you upwards of $2,700. And yet in the graph, it looks like an overwhelmingly low-income neighborhood. My own neighborhood of Carroll Gardens looks far richer, but a one-bedroom here will run you about $2,000. (The rental data in the chart seems off–You’d need a time machine to find a $900 one-bedroom anywhere remotely close to where I live. The rental data you see in the graph is user generated, since average rents weren’t available.)

Partly, you can thank rent control for that: In an effort to force mixed-income living onto neighborhoods, many buildings have apartments with set rents. And when there are some paying below market rents, that artificially lowers supply–and raises prices for everyone else.

Now, mixed-income living is a virtue in a city like New York. But how many people realize that they’re paying for it, every month, in their rent checks?