Explore Green in NY

Lab Reports, Maps
NY Green Tunnel


As a person who born in a tropical area often loves outdoor activities as well. When I moved to New York City last year, I found that this city has a lot more skyscrapers but less natural environment compared with my hometown, Taipei. For me, It is hard to tolerate living in a city without nature scenery. In addition, since I am a huge fan of riding a bike to explore a city, I was so excited when I found out dataset about bike routes, green streets, gardens, and park zones in New York. Therefore, I decided to create a map that helps people living in New York City explore GREEN, nature, by riding a bike in their daily life. The map could help outdoor lovers answer the following questions:

  1. Where has the highest density of the small plants?
  2. What is the exact location of the park zones, gardens, and green streets?
  3. What are the bike routes in used and where will it go?


I was inspired by the map which was created by NYC BIKE MAPS below. This map clearly presents New York City’s bike paths, bike lanes, and greenways.

New York City’s Bike paths, bike lanes, and greenways.

Through this interactive map, people are able to know the different types and situations of the bike paths and where can go. Thus, I tried to use this concept as a main idea to make more clear bike routes in my map for people to use.


  • NYC Open Data : an open dataset source about New York.
  • Carto : a digital interactive platform for building maps or location-based visualizations.


I searched dataset and typed some keywords like “bike”, “tree” and “park” into the search bar of the NYC Open Data website. There are not too many results showing up but they are still good enough to use. I downloaded these datasets as GeoJSON files and uploaded it to Carto for combination to create my map.

In Carto, in order to make sure the deliverable content for my audience, I added 4 layers to my map and rename each layer to demonstrate the different topics. In each layer, I also used the in-built functions like “STYLE”, “POP-UP”, and “LEGEND” to draw specific details with different colors.


Through the linear patterns, people can understand the routes of bicycle lanes and the places of green streets. Block-colored areas and the dots on the map can help people understand that are a large area of scenic spots and provide bicycle riders with a long stay or rest. From the visualization, people are able to know the upper Manhattan and the Bronx have the highest density of the small plants since they have the most amount of green linear pattern.

For helping people know the exact location of the park zones, gardens, and green streets, I added names and location address for each. I defined the function of the hovering over is used for the fewer data, and the function of the clicking is used for a large number of data. People are able to click green streets or hovering over park zones or gardens to see the details.

After hovering over the park zone

By clicking the bike routes, people are also able to know each detail of the roads. The details would provide the answers to what the bike routes are in used and where it will go.

After clicking on the bike route

In addition, users are able to zoom into every road to see very specific detail. The most interesting thing that I found is that some of the bike roads are only used for walking. Hence, riders can be noticed that they need to ride by walk if they have to pass through these areas.


In order to meet the needs of cyclists, I tried to make the bicycle route as the clearest part of my map, therefore I chose the black background in my map. However, because some cyclists may need the freeway maps at the same time, I had switched back and forth between the freeway background and the black background, and tried to combine the freeway background to my datasets. After I combined, the information on the map became messy and users could not recognize the information in a short time, because the map contained too much information and colors. Thus, in the end, I chose the black background to my map, because it can best show the points I want to present to users. The pity is that I cannot combine the map with the freeway background. I hope I can find out the best way to use the freeway map to combine others in the future.