"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"

Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
(used with permission)

"If you don't like the news .... go out and make some of your own !!"

Wes "Scoop" Nisker, Newscaster


Government is a slow and tedious process. While it often includes citizen and neighborhood involvement, non-governmental, private organizations have created movements and interesting groups which can create positive change in our cities and towns.

I am fascinated by the way groups are created and how they influence public decision making. This blog merely recognizes them and forwards the description of these groups from their own websites.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Mapping Decline

Location: St. Louis, MO

Website: www.mappingdecline.lib.uiowa.edu

The maps were composed in ArcView 9.2, using a combination of digital census geography, archival maps, and historical and contemporary datasets. The base map for the home and the documents pages is Plate I from N.M Fenneman, Geology and Mineral Resources of the St. Louis Quadrangle (United States Geological Survey, Bulletin 438, 1911).

The base map for the other map series is the ESRI shaded world relief layer, based on the USGS’s National Elevation Data (NED) data.

The White Flight series uses 1940-2000 tract level census data. The 1990 and 2000 data and tracts boundaries were drawn from the Census, the 1970 and 1980 data and boundaries are based on the digitization done by Geolytics for those census years. 1960 and earlier data was adapted from the Donald and Elizabeth Mullen Bogue data, maintained by the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. 1960 and earlier tract maps were digitized (working backwards from 1970) by the author.

The historical data and tract boundaries are now much more readily available thanks to the yeoman work of the University of Minnesota’s National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS) project and Andrew Beveridge’s Social Explorer.

To display the change over a decade, tract boundaries were normalized for the two census years. This usually meant restricting the scope of the map to the metro tracts of the earlier census, and collapsing data from the latter year into the census geography of the earlier year. In the 1950-1960 map, for example, this required adjusting the 1960 data (323 census tracts) to fit the 1950 geography (247 tracts).

The Race and Property series is based on a number of archival sources. The 1916 layer is based on the text of the ordinance, and on the description provided in “Blocks in Which Negros May Take up Residence,” St. Louis Post Dispatch (2 March 1916) from the clippings collection of the St. Louis Public Library. The scope of the 1923 and 1941 realtor’s zones are summarized in Charles Johnson and Herman Long, People v Property: Race Restrictive Covenants in Housing (Nashville, 1947), and are noted on the City Plan Commission’s 1930 map, “Distribution of the Negro Population,” a copy of which is in the Missouri Historical Society’s map collection.

The NAACP’s 1945 estimate of the reach of restrictive deed covenants is adapted from Johnson and Long, People v. Property, 24, 60. The HOLC security maps were digitized from the 1937 and 1940 St. Louis maps in the City Survey Files of the&Records of the Home Owner’s Loan Corporation, RG 195.3, National Archives.

The Municipal Zoning series is based on archival zoning maps from a wide variety of sources, including the planning and zoning departments of many St. Louis County municipalities. Many (and especially the earliest) zoning plan and maps can be found in the bound and unbound city planning reports conducted by the Harland Bartholomew company and archived in the Harland Bartholomew and Associates Papers at Washington University, St. Louis City ordinances, programmatic reports, and the City’s current property database.

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