Ellis Act Evictions Map /// Looking at evictions in San Francisco since 1997

San Francisco MapThis data visualization comes from the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project in San Francisco. The map visualizes the locations of evictions related to the use of a certain state law (the Ellis Act). The act, as the mappers describe, gives landlords the power to evict residents and has been linked to growing volumes of more expensive tenancy-in-common flats and condominium-style residential housing. San Francisco’s housing market has been in the news with many residents angry about the rapidly rising costs of living and gentrification that is causing large shifts in demographics in the City.

The map visualizes evictions as ‘explosions’ leaving a black and red ‘crater’ where the eviction happened. The size of the explosion relates to the number of evictions. There is a time slider to show the progression of evictions over time, leaving prominent neighbourhoods of San Francisco pockmarked. The map is built with leaflet, D3 and CartoDB.

Critique and notes after the jump, map link below:

Link: http://www.antievictionmappingproject.net/ellis.html

Critique/Notes: The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project (AEMP) is really fascinating to me and their use (co-opting?) of cartography for their activist work is really interesting. Teasing it apart, the map is actually a small piece of a much larger project. The AEMP includes active surveys on eviction, evictor profiles (possibly extracted from the mapping project), event listings, and other pieces, many of which have translations into Spanish.

The question arises again – what is the role of the information visualization here? It seems almost like a symbol and expression of the sentiment of this group – San Francisco is under attack, San Francisco is losing a precious resource, San Francisco must be saved. The map communicates this sentiment clearly… not to mention the exciting irony of the use of cartography – historically a tool for state control and resource management, in this defense of affordable housing.

Even more interesting is the possible audience for this map – with San Francisco’s growing tech sector employees being at the core of the gentrification debate in this city, the use of their technological toolset (D3, interactive map) makes a very interesting statement. Arguably, this map is directed at those people who are possibly implicated in the evictions.

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