in the Public Realm

Million Dollar Blocks
New York City is among the many cities in the United States in which the state regularly spends more than one million dollars to incarcerate prisoners who live within a single census block. Advocacy organizations, architects, urban planners, and community groups working with released prisoners are asking: where are these 'million dollar blocks,' what do they look like and what is happening in them? The Spatial Information Design Lab (SIDL) at Columbia has used data provided by the Justice Mapping Center to produce a range of maps of this phenomenon.

Noise Map
This map presents spatial data about noise in the city, generated by New York City Residents when they call 311, New York's phone number for government information and non-emergency services. Each call tracked in this map is an actual complaint about noise revealing that all communities complain about noise but what they complain about varies radically by block. SIDL uses a 311 data set from 2004 to 2005. During that first year, 277,000 of the 2.5 million phone calls recorded by 311 were about noise. Today the numbers remain similar: noise is something New Yorkers urgently want to tell us about.

Million Dollar Blocks Project Team
Project Directors: Laura Kurgan(SIDL) Eric Cadora(Justice Mapping Center); Project Associates: Sarah Williams, David Reinfurt. For further information see:

This project was produced as part of Graphical Innovations in Justice Mapping as a collaboration between the Justice Mapping Center, the Spatial Information Design Lab and the JFA Institute. Funding was generously provided by the Open Society Institute (OSI) and the JEHT Foundation. The project was first displayed in 2006 as Architecture and Justice at the Architectural League of New York.

Noise Map Project Team.
Project Artists: Laura Kurgan and Sarah Williams. Project Assistance: Caspar Lam, Programming and Graphic Design. For further information see:

Thanks to the Guggenheim for funding the interactive portion of this project which can be viewed on their StillspottingNYC web site. Also a special thanks to James Perazzo, and Kristina Sell at New York City's Department of Information, Technology, and Telecommunications (DOITT) for helping the with the transfer of 311 call data.


NY City Noise Complaints by Density: October 2011