Open Knowledge International

NYC Property Tax Explorer

  • Chris Whong, Akil Harris, and Ameen Soleman
NYC Property Tax Explorer

##The Problem Gentrification, or the rampant increase in property value of lower and lower-middle class neighborhoods, is widespread throughout the United States and the rest of the developing world. Whether displaced as a result of increased property taxes, steep rent hikes, or the intentional neglect of landlords, populations that have once lived in neighborhoods for decades are being systematically forced to move. Academics and local communities alike are debating the effects of gentrification. Yet, for any informed debate, there needs to be as comprehensive an understanding as possible.

It is difficult to fully realize the nature with which this displacement is occurring without a birdseye of the view of the phenomena. Gentrification is diffuse and, on an individual level basis, hard to identify and thus difficult to create public awareness of the issues and advocacy campaigns around them.

In short, every awareness and advocacy needs a medium and method to construct messages that are accessible and impactful to the non-expert concerned citizen before any substantive change can occur.

##The solution Luckily, property taxation data, a very crucial datapoint through which to view the impacts of gentrification, is often provided by municipal and state government taxation departments. Mapped property taxation data allows one to quantify a hard-to-conceptualize phenomenon through visualization. Open data sets on housing prices and property taxes overtime can give a comprehensive view of the where, what, and how of gentrification.

Chris Whong, Akil Harris, and Ameen Soleman at the hackathon Code Across NYC used over 40,000 individual tax bills and connected this tax information to Map Pluto an open dataset of New York CIty’s properties. NYC Property Tax Explorer is an interactive map that allows one to zoom in and click on a particular property and view its corresponding tax information.

Data Used: Map Pluto, New York City Property Information

Credit: City of New York - Department of City Planning, City of New York

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