Hardly a day goes by without the announcement of a new dire circumstance for local economies. The stories include layoffs, hidden effects of the economic downturn, growing pockets where local effects are visible, and fewer opportunities and services for citizens to maintain their quality of life.
Online cartographers using web 2.0 map tools have chronicled the downturn by mapping images of localities, visualizing data sets that show the trends and eliciting citizen volunteered information to catch the impacts.
Here is a collection of a few online maps that illustrate the economic transition in the U.S.
1. Map of Newspaper Layoffs - While the relative number of layoffs in the news field is low, the impact is large and growing. A number if cities will lose their daily papers, and many others will see that local news is no longer prioritized.
2. Where is the Milk Cheapest? - This map sponsored by WHYC in NYC asks volunteers to a non-organic quart of milk, head of iceberg lettuce and six-pack of 12 oz beer in New York City. Price differences are pretty dramatic; for example Han's deli charges nearly 2.5 times the price as does Fairway for the same quart of milk. Such variation underscores the challenges the many people have in balancing time-distance-cost economies.
3. Foreclosure Maps - A proliferation of maps depicting foreclosures and other real estate value changes are show homeowners, customers, and real estate professionals the trends by location. The one we highlighted from USA today illustrates the uneven nature of the localized impacts, with just 35 counties representing the vast majority of numbers of foreclosures. Trulia.com's heat map shows home pricing on a local basis, also revealing uneven nature of housing, both on a national and local scale.
ITSRG - Temple University