MICHELLE THOMPSON: Now that we've taken a look at the census information, and have a general overview of the issues and the information on socioeconomics in the Roxbury area, we're going to take a look at the other piece of the data package, which is the land value information based upon assessing data. And assessing data is information that is collected by every municipality, which gives information on the lot size, the location, the street address, whether it's improved or not. So this is a summary map that provides a snapshot of the assessing information for 24 Burrell Street area.
This particular map is a summary that's provided from another source. While GIS provides us with a way to summarize information in a lot of different ways, my mantra is look before you make. Many students immediately gather information, and begin to make maps furiously, when in fact, the maps are already out in the community. And are probably very sufficient.
This particular map is a summary of the Main Street's program. So it takes a look at, in the Dorchester and Roxbury area, what are the main commercial corridors. And what are the attributes for that neighborhood.
This is an overview of the Dudley Street neighborhood triangle area. This particular neighborhood has been serviced by the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, an incredible community-based organization that has been in existence since 1974. Burrell Street is within the Dudley Street neighborhood. And the information that we're going to look at will evaluate this service area, and Burrell Street, in relation.
And as you recall, this area has a significant amount of poverty, has a high crime rate, might have some-- a general trust in neighbors. But in general, this is an area that is distressed. So keep that in mind as we go through this analysis.
This is another map that has been provided, that once again, is out on MapQuest. And it gives you an overview of the neighborhood. There are Yahoo maps. There are a lot of places to get maps from without creating your own. But you can get a sense of the neighborhood scale, and can zoom in on this particular site.
An example here is where we're trying to look for the Burrell Street to give some kind of context. And this particular map gives us the area, in general. But doesn't give us a lot of flexibility in terms of doing analysis, understanding what are the parcels comprised of, so we need more information.
Here's an example that has been provided, which summarizes a lot of information about this particular neighborhood. You can see from the outline that we can still have information on the Roxbury and Dorchester area. But this also gives improved various, commercial districts, historic information, all summarized together. So this is a pretty dense map.
This map is available in all communities. It's a map on topography. It's important for planners to understand the height of a particular lot, its relation to another lot in terms of development, building, and even walkability.
This topographic map would have been very important when looking at the placement of the food stores, for example. If we consider the distance to a particular food store, and also a teen's ability, or inability to walk to a store based upon the elevation, that also impacts where the placement of these doors should, or could be in the future.
Here's another map that provides basic information that most of us probably have already seen about districts in the neighborhood and census. But these maps can also be overlaid for political zones, and those change all the time. That's another key ingredient for GIS.
Many cartographers would have to sit and sketch out the neighborhoods. But with GIS, with the click of a button, lines can be redrawn positively or negatively. Sometimes the lines are drawn-- like in the 1990 census, they may shift and change in 2000. That can impact the amount of money that a neighborhood can receive.
So while we have a power to make information available rapidly, there also can be a downside or a danger if we are not cautious with the way in which we develop maps.
This particular map, if you recall, is a dot density. But in this case, every dot represents a hyperlink to that site. For the city of Boston, and for many cities around the country, you can click on this map, and up will pop the information about the owner, the last sale of the particular site, whether it's single family, what zoning. So a lot of information about your particular parcel is at a click of a button.
This is a very important map that has been used in many communities where there's been a lot of environmental hazards. In the Dudley Street Neighborhood, more than 70% of the sites had been dumped on. And this community-based organization was able to get that eradicated.
But there were still sites that needed cleaning. And this particular map can provide the sites of locations that are either identified, or actually contaminated. As you can see, there are a number of different sites pretty close to Burrell Street.
This is a wonderful picture, and we will be able to zoom in on the digital orthophotos. These flyovers had been in the past used for military purposes. Now they're being used for planning. So we can get a better sense of the shifts and changes in our communities based upon a particular moment in time. But we're able to take a look at the context of a particular parcel within the region.
As we zoom into the site, we can get a pretty good sense of whether the parcels are-- there's more residential, whether they're vacant. And we can even see just above Burrell Street, where the original governor's mansion was in Massachusetts.
As we zoom into this particular neighborhood, we're able to get a snapshot in time of what this parcel looked like during the early spring or summer. But that's not all of the information that we need to know. We need to gather information during different seasons, gather any information on hazardous sites, other environmental concerns, and its proximity to other services.
Finally, this is as close to the bird's eye view as we can get right now. But there's a new technology called [? pixometry, ?] where we'll actually be able to get a 360-degree view of a particular site. This is available now only to municipalities, but I think in the future it might be available in general.
This is a typical summary sheet for information about parcels that are currently for sale. As you can see, 24 Burrell Street is listed for $300,000. But the assessment, which is what the taxes are based on, is listed as $27,000.
When I looked at this property, at first I thought there must be a problem. Maybe there's just a comma that's out of place. But in fact, this property is listed, and will be sold very shortly for $300,000. But within the context of this neighborhood, it doesn't quite make sense. Since in this distressed neighborhood you have high poverty rate. And high crime rate, whether perceived or real, does not necessarily support the amount of money that this property has been listed for.
What I was able to find out, and you can also see this on the spreadsheet, is that this property already has received permits for townhouses. So instead of having the market value as a single-family lot, in fact, its use is going to be intended for housing. And that is why the value of the property has significantly increased. Parcels in the Dudley and Roxbury area have increased in general. There's not a whole lot of land a mile and a half from downtown Boston that's still available.
But it tells you a little bit about the market, but it also tells you about the changes that are going on in this community.
As you can see, this particular parcel has a lot of junk strewn on it. And although its value is $300,000 on the market, and its assessment is $27,000, which the taxes are based upon it, there is value. And depending upon whether you're buying or selling in a neighborhood, whether distressed or at market, these are some of the issues that planners and policy-makers must take into consideration.
How do you develop in a community when the market is at one end of the spectrum, and the socioeconomics are at another? Planners in city and regional planning, and across the country, must take a look at these issues. And one of the ways in which we can take a very close look at all of these in our data package, census and assessing, is through the use of GIS.
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Map making is an event that we perform everyday. Whether we try to figure out the best route to a neighborhood park or travel cross-country, all of us "make maps." The process of creating maps for academic research is very much the same.
Data is gathered about a specific place, verified by theoretical or applied means and analysis is rendered. The ability of applied research to create sophisticated "maps" has been profoundly enhanced by using geographic information systems (GIS).
GIS allows users to create, collect, analyze and visualize data in a integrated database for use in a wide array of disciplines. Community based planners can utilize GIS along with contemporary data and local knowledge for capacity-building and long-term sustainability. The use of parcel information and census data as a 'data package' will be explored in this study room.
This video is part 7 of 8 in the Applied GIS: Turning Data into Information series.