Primary sources

Two neat sites that uncover what should be common knowledge:
* Crain’s put up a “Market Facts”: page to complement this week’s issue, featuring interactive maps of Chicago community areas devised by CNT using ESRI data. Several show 2000-2006 (est.) changes in population, race/ethnicity, and income, although the usual caveats about midyear estimates apply. One shows how much money each CA spends on gas in the aggregate (pretty shocking to think that my neighborhood spends $70M on gas a year — that could buy one hella lot of single-speed bikes); another, MP3 player ownership. I can probably personally attest that far more than 1,905 West Town-ners own MP3 players, judging from the rush-hour crowds boarding the Blue Line.

* Austin has an exemplary “downtown redevelopment”: info portal, with printable posters highlighting what’s under construction, the standard GIS viewer, a monthly newsletter, PDF downloads of major planning reports, tourist maps, and building permit data. The city’s collection of “demographic maps”: also answer plenty of unusual (but good) questions, like where McMansions or apartments are being built, who voted how on municipal propositions, how fast taxes are rising, and where immigrants, single mothers, voters, and the educated live.