Home.Land.Security Updated Proposal

A. Revised proposal topic and description

How safe is LA? New IT firm to re-present the city’s safety in a new light

We are pleased to announce Home.Land.Security., a new IT firm specializing in mapping the safety of Los Angeles’ communities for the city’s most vulnerable people.

In February of this year, Trayvon Martin, a 16-year-old African American was shot and killed by George Zimmerman as he walked to his girlfriend’s house in Sanford, Florida. The killing, which appears to have been racially motivated, has triggered anger and sadness nationwide. It has also sparked controversy and attention to the safety of Black and Latino teenagers—especially after talk show host Geraldo Rivera suggested that Trayvon’s death was due to his wardrobe choice (a hooded sweatshirt) rather than his racist attacker. This project is a response to incidents like Trayvon’s death, and seeks to bring to light the larger systemic forces that make neighborhoods unsafe and unhealthy.

In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the interrelationships between health, safety, and the built environment and the dire need to create safer spaces. Public health professionals have begun to think more holistically about health, questioning the social and spatial determinants of wellbeing. Planners too are thinking beyond their traditional domain, questioning how streets, housing, neighborhoods and cities may affect the health of their residents.

We believe that this growing attention to creating safe and healthy spaces is a positive development, but that it does not go far enough. It has failed to address the acute threats to the safety of queers, immigrants, people of color, women, low-income people, the homeless, people with disabilities, and other communities.

Home.Land.Security. seeks to fill this gap by visually representing unsafe, threatening and harmful spaces as experienced by the most vulnerable. We will include some traditional health riskscapes, such as pollution and access to healthy food and open space, but will also include less traditional threats such as immigration raids, racist/homophobic discourse and hate crimes and police violence. Our team is working around the clock to assess which data sources are most appropriate to explore this topic.

Our site will redefine the current state of health and safety in a number of at-risk neighborhoods and communities within Los Angeles County. We aim to publish this information on the Los Angeles Community Action Network’s (LA CAN) website.

B. Functionalities 

Pan and Zoom Search: This interactive feature will allow the user to analyze health and safety layer data specific to an address or neighborhood, similar to Oakland Crimespotting. Layers within the map boundaries will pop up automatically, depending on what the user chooses to see.

Health and Safety Layer Selection: The user may select from a variety of categories, such as hate crime occurrences or immigration raids. These layers will be viewable in isolation or in combination with others.

Neighborhood Characterization: Demographic layers from 2012 will give the user a more complete picture of the neighborhood/city they are viewing.

Split Screen Comparison: Users will be able to compare two neighborhoods/cities at once with the split screen option.

Safety/Health Score Report: Similar to Walk Score, this site can generate a safety/health report from a 0 to 100 scale.

C. Wireframe diagram

D. Storyboard

E. Datasets

Twitter API

Yelp API

LA Times API

Air Quality Index

Google Maps API

Crimemapping API

F. Milestones

Week 6: Import all health/safety/demographic layers to map, make map searchable by neighborhood/city/region. Begin working on other interactive features to be finished by finals week

Finals: Write code that creates tables with demographic information, health and safety statistics. Write code that allows user to isolate and combine layers. Write code for report generator that produces safety/health score based on all available layers. Write code for interactive self-reporting form to allow users to report hate crimes and immigration raids.

G. Concerns

Some of the functionalities described may be too advanced for us to achieve within the timeframe, such as filtering through twitter feeds and generating score reports. Some data such as hate crime occurrences may be difficult to find/obsolete. Establishing pollution buffers could be difficult if we try to compare to real time traffic data.

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