Open City: Blogging Urban Change
Brief note on the politics of typology, mapping, demographics
By Cristiana Baik

 

As of late, I’ve been doing a somewhat long-termish study on demographic mapping, changes, patterns in Sunset Park (and NYC, in general). A few posts to come up with some of my findings, but in the mean time, I thought I would throw out some accessible online sources:

An urban planner I spoke to suggested that I take a look at an interactive demographics map put out by the NY Times this past January, 2011.

So, I took a look. The map, in fact, is fancy and polished, with some interesting language to describe the growth of ethnic enclaves: “Traditional ethnic enclaves sprawled amoeba-like into adjacent communities. Once monolithic tracts of white and black and native-born residents have become bespeckled with newcomers.” Hmmm. Hmmmmmm. . .welcome all “bespecklers” (other note-worthy descriptions, categories: the Latino/Latina population is divided between “Latin America” and “Carribean.” Also all white people are defined as “non-Hispanic”).

The data used to create this demographics team came from the American Community Survey’s decenniel survey, which takes multi-year averages as opposed to annual averages. The Census Bureau, then, has discouraged using ACS’s decenniel census map to gauge annual changes, as “the ACS does not provide official counts of the population in between censuses.”

Another curious note. NYC’s sizable Puerto Rican population (nearly 8 percent of the population in Sunset Park) has mysteriously been left out of ACS’s survey and the Times’ demographics map. Of this, Ed Morales wrote: “Puerto Ricans go completely unmentioned in this entire analysis! Why bother? There are only 780,000 of us left! One place where Puerto Ricans have ‘sprawled, amoeba-like,’ out of is Williamsburg. . .”

Oh, NY Times objectivity.

One neat Brooklyn-specific demographic online project I did find was Brooklyn Typology. From this website, I found a sleuth of data on Sunset Park to parce out:

~ Sunset Park’s census tract 100=10th highest density area in Brooklyn, with 160.57 persons/acre, compared to Brooklyn’s overall average of 20.6 people/acre.

~The highest density area in this survey is Flatbush’s census tract 508, with a (whopping) 341.8 persons/acre.

~The lowest density residential area is Cypress Hill’s census tract 1142.01, with 15.87 persons/acre.

~ In Sunset Park’s census tract 100, about 160 people live in 47 units, which amounts to about 3.41 persons/unit. That’s the sixth highest people/unit density in Brooklyn.

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About Open City
Open City: Blogging Urban Change is an interdisciplinary neighborhood blog and community project coordinated by the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. Five commissioned writers, called Organizing Fellows, are working with community organizations and neighborhood folks in Manhattan’s Chinatown/Lower East Side (LES), Flushing, Queens, and Sunset Park, Brooklyn to collect oral histories and interviews, offer commentary about gentrification, neighborhood change, and produce new creative work around these themes. Read more.
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CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities was formed in 1986 (formerly known as the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence) as a response to an increase in anti-Asian hate crimes both in New York City and around the country (which included violence by police officers against Asians).
They have two offices – one in Manhattan’s Chinatown (which houses the Chinatown Tenants Union, and the new Asian Youth in Action organizing project) and the Youth Leadership Project office in the Bronx – and have members from all over the city. Over the years, CAAAV’s main campaigns have focused on community-based organizing work rooted in Asian immigrant and refugee communities. Although their advocacy and organizing work is focused mainly in Manhattan’s Chinatown and the northwest Bronx, CAAAV’s work also touches upon larger issues (such as affordable housing, war, and immigration) shaping communities all over the world: “Our work is primarily centered around issues facing New Yorkers, but always with a global analysis.”
CAAAV’s mission is to organize and build the power of working-class Asian immigrants, refugees, and youth to change concrete conditions and participate in a broader social justice movement. In the past, CAAAV’s work included organizing South Asian taxi drivers, Korean women workers, and Filipina domestic workers. Several of these organizing projects have gone on to become their own organizations, such as the New York Taxi Workers Alliance and Domestic Workers United. CAAAV’s current work focus on three different program areas: Read more.

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Manhattan CB3 Land Use, Zoning, Public & Private Housing Committee
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