Lab 3: Mapping NYCHA

Lab Reports, Maps, Visualization


For my mapping visualization, I was interested in looking into the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) development sites. As most large metropolitans, New York City is seeing a rise in luxury building developments but I wanted to look at the areas where affordable housing was being offered to residents. Not only that, but I wanted to see if there were any trends in relation to these developments. Knowing that education can be linked to quality of life, I wanted to see how many developments were in each school district. Another question I wanted to look at was about future development of schools. Were there areas with a high amount of NYCHA developments that would or wouldn’t be gaining more public schools or having improvements done on existing schools?

Information Visualization Critiques

The first map I found was the 2017 official NYCHA map from ( When I saw this map, I liked that you could see all of the developments at once; however, that was about the only thing I liked about the map. The grid lines are visually overwhelming to me and the heavy use of text made most of the information illegible to me. I wanted to use this map as a starting point to improve upon not only the information of NYCHA locations, but also to see if there were any other relationships within the city that could potentially affect NYCHA residents.

My second map was from Troy Andrew Hallisey and was also made on CARTO. I did like this map’s use of color. The warm colors against the black background allowed for easy viewing. The use of popup windows when clicking on a development or house location allowed for less textual clutter while still allowing a viewer to gain more information when they wanted. I wanted to utilize this tools for my own map.

Materials Used

For this lab, I used NYC OpenData to find the NYCHA dataset ( and the information on projects to build more schools and capital improvement projects (

For software, I used to build my map.


For my map, I knew I wanted to use information on NYCHA’s housing developments in NYC. However, I didn’t want to use just that information. Considering the different factors that can help or hinder the quality of life for people who are living in NYCHA developments, I wanted to look a bit more at public school systems to see if there were certain school districts that had more kids from developments than others. Originally, I looked at transportation information to see what a student’s commute would look like from certain developments but couldn’t find data that was supported by Carto. I also looked into using data on after-school programs to see what type of resources were available and where these programs were located in relation to schools and NYCHA developments. However, with all of the programs shown as points on the map, it quickly became too hard to discern between dots. To remedy this, I made the dots into flags and made the flag smaller but it was then too difficult to click on the dots, making it harder to interact with the map. I am including an image of this version of my map below.

Realizing that this information on after-school programs was not viable with my map, I started to look at other types of information I could include in my project. I decided to include information on construction projects to compare where schools were being built or renovated with the districts that currently already have developments in their districts. I was interested in seeing if there were any districts that more developments than others and if the building plans for more schools would alleviate any overpopulation for school districts that were already dealing with difficulties.

Results and Interpretation

When looking at my map, I like that there is a color gradient to show which school districts have the most housing developments. Knowing this, more assistance could be focused on these districts to help students with needed resources. That being said, when looking at the school districts with the most housing developments (one in Brooklyn, two in Manhattan, and four in the Bronx) it is also clear that these districts have some of the fewest amounts of projects in development. Knowing that certain school districts have more NYCHA developments than others, city officials could use a map such as this to focus on infrastructure improvements to help with educational improvements. It was also helpful to see where much needed improvements have gone ignored for years, such as in school district 27 where there are still projects in work from damage done by Hurricane Sandy.

A final interactive version of my map can be found below:

A screenshot of my final map is below: