Photo by Jon Shapley
In it’s most recent segment, You Are Here, an interactive project from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has mapped the most popular neighborhoods in Austin for children. This interactive map is a great tool for any Austin newcomer and may help you decide where you want to live.
Researchers at MIT analyzed population trends from 1970-2010 referencing Census data, National Geographic’s Information System and Zillow. This helped them determine where children in Austin have lived over the years. The map gives you the option to see how the population has changed over time and actually shows the migration of Austin families away from downtown.
Today the areas with the highest concentration of children include Franklin Park (78744), McKinney (78744), and Heritage Hills (78753). There are a few neighborhoods that have never had high populations of children (University of Texas, West University and downtown, for example), there are a few surprises. Hyde Park, with its seemingly family-friendly feel, doesn’t have a high concentration of kids.
So what’s the point of mapping where children live? The project points out that mapping the younger population influences everything from city planners designing green spaces to city council members voting on school issues.
Sep Kamvar, LG Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT and one of the project’s creators. In an interview he said, “I want to create maps that [will] not only give a more complete picture of a city, and also help people to make their city a better place to live.”
It’s ultimately about examining how cities are designed. “On a macro-level, the pronounced and continued reduction of the population of children in the city over the past 40 years makes us question whether we are creating our cities to be less friendly to children and families,” says the project.