Category: Data Journalism

An Urban Visitation Permit for the City of Philadelphia

Philadelphia Urban Permit

Reddit member modus has a co-worker who’s afraid to come into the city, an attitude Philadelphia residents often find either hard to believe or somewhat offensive. So modus told him he needed to apply for a permit and gave him the above–as well as a warning to their boss to stop the co-worker if he tried to use the fax machine.

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FBI Raids Sheriff’s Office With Focus on “Unknown Real Estate Dealings”

foreclosure chart

RealtyTrac graphic of foreclosure rates

RealtyTrac released its July 2013 foreclosure market report today, and Philadelphia County’s foreclosure’s are down by 2 percent. That’s meager comfort for those disturbed by the news that the FBI raided the very office responsible for handling those foreclosures: the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office. According to Action News, agents served a subpoena this morning at 9 a.m., with investigators focusing on “unknown real-estate dealings in the Sheriff’s Department.”

There have been a lot of unknowns in that department for years. After current Sheriff Jewell Williams replaced former corrupt Sheriff John Green two years ago, there was a complacency halo effect. But a memo included in budget hearing proceedings this year included some bizarre information highlighted by reporter Isaiah Thompson at AxisPhilly.

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Famed Cartographer Anna Wintour Publishes the Worst Map of Philly Ever


Perhaps Vogue didn’t intend for Philadelphians to take its illustration so seriously. It was probably just an impressionistic illustration like the others Vogue has published by artist Jackie Bestemen meant to encapsulate Philly in a cute way. But woe be to those who underestimate the Philly ’Tude–and our resulting ability to get defensive about anything and everything that mentions the city.

That said, the headline of the piece reads: “Like a Local:
Caroline Palmer and Kori Dyer Map Their Shared Hometown, Philadelphia
,” and offers a view of the map that is zoomable. If readers are encouraged to zoom and the word “map” is used, shouldn’t the illustration vaguely approximate reality?

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Latinos More Focused on Home Ownership Than African-Americans or Whites

A new study by Better Homes & Gardens of the three largest ethnic groups in the country reveals that while the groups are pretty much agreed that home ownership is important and desired, there are slight differences among them.

For instance, while the majority of people in all three groups see homeownership as “the greatest indicator of status,” 65 percent of white people shared this view compared to 78 percent of blacks and Hispanics. Hispanics were also more focused on saving for a home than either blacks or whites.

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Property’s Morning Obsession: lotxlot, An Addictive Mapping App


Possible City is an urban planning project that facilitates collaboration between planners who work in government and the ivory tower and citizens and organizations with boots on the ground. Such top-down/bottom-up partnerships not only make things happen more efficiently–bypassing misunderstandings with community members who resent intrusion–but spurs innovation as well.

So what kind of tool encourages the participation of an average citizen who feels divorced from big Ed Bacon-like plans? An app like lotXlot, which maps the city’s vacant lots–both publicly owned and privately owned–a total of 6.7 percent of Philadelphia.

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Philadelphia Is One of the 10 Most Exciting Cities in the U.S.

barnes-totem-philadelphia-600Hey, Philadelphians–are you pumped? Psyched? Stoked? You should be. Movoto Real Estate says this city is one of the 10 most exciting in the entire country. What quantifies excitement for Movoto? Parks. Bars. Museums. Diversity. Theater companies. Movie theaters. Music venues. People between the ages of 20 and 34 (when you turn 35, you die inside).

It’s not hard to imagine where Philadelphia excels–in population diversity and museums per square mile. Philly came in at No. 9 ahead of last-place finisher Portland–which explains why this happens.

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Property’s Morning Obsession: The PHL Project by Monica O

monica o

These colorful and beautifully designed representations of Philly’s most iconic buildings are the object of today’s obsession-and every day that artist Monica O releases a new one. Here’s how she describes the motivation behind the series:

I bought a bike, had it for less than 24 hours before it got stolen. My friends and I got our house broken into and everything was taken when we lived on Bouvier St right off of Temple’s campus. Septa’s pretty gross but I still love Philly and this is my new project. I’m going to start a series of buildings I see on my walk from Center City to Market East station everyday.

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