Home.Land.Security Launch

We’ve launched our new site!

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new site, which visually represents unsafe, threatening and harmful spaces as experienced by the most vulnerable.

Click here to see the site in action!

Our Manifesto

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 San Francisco. We hope to publish this map on Communities United Against Violance’s website, a queer anti-violance organization in San Francisco, which is trying to build safety in queer, trans, low-income, and marginalized communities.

Functionalities

Pan and Zoom: This allows users to navigate around San Francisco.

Health and Safety Layer Selection: The user may select from a variety of categories, such as demographics, police violence, etc.

That’s about it so far…

Our Team

Home.Land.Security is:

  • Jordan “Bug Zapper” Rozencranz, Lead Coder

For the last two weeks Jordan has been working tirelessly to create a GoogleEarth layer from a report on police related violence in SF. But he didn’t stop there. Oh no. He figure out how to toggle it, and then compiled all our code into one big coherent whole.

  • Ben “Likes Shiny Things” Palmquist, Lead User Interface Designer

SF Crime spotting has been an unholy mess. Ben has dealt with it.

  • Pamela “Devil in the Details” Stephens, Lead Data Wrangler

Pam has managed to keep her greedy mitts off the data, and has instead concentrated on making our site puurrritty. First though, she did her best to figure out some way to get twitter to tell use where the racist people are. Which was depressing and, it turns out, pretty much impossible. Still, props.

  • Will “Wordsmith” Dominie, Lead Author

Will writes snarky things. He also wrestled with ESRI’s mapshare, and batted clean up on our code and post.

Our Process

Design: Here’s some of our early sketches:

Challenges:

Things went pretty smoothly, although we did have some unexpected hiccups. These included:

  • We had hoped to do this in LA, but LA has really bad data.
  • SF ^#$(#()#_! Crime Spotting. All their data is old, and it was frustrating to use.
  • Twitter would not tell us where the racist people are at, even after we offered it some pretty search terms.
  • The ESRI map service call we learned in class refused to be toggled. We thought ESRI liked to be toggled. We were apparently wrong.

Still to Come…

Despite our hard work putting the site together, we won’t be resting on our laurels. We’ve still got lots to do to get add functionality and make it look HOT! Here’s what we’ve got planned:

Interface: We’re going to make it look soooo slick! Add some buttons to the checkboxes, a legend, a graph? !

Site Content: We’d like to add some space to explain what the H we are trying to do. Without a narrative, this map’s just a map with some creepy stuff on it. We need to explain the frame we’re working from–both in some snappy way on the main page, and in detail. We’d like to add some tabs with more info.

More Layers: We’re pretty much obsessed with data, so we’ll try to throw some more on there. We’ll likely add some more demographic layers, and maybe pollution? The sky’s the limit.

Calculation/Data Visualization: Remember how we are pretty much obsessed with data? We think maps are pretty and all, but we get REALLY excited about compiling, calculating, and displaying spatial data. We’d like to enable our map to calculate how safe different areas are, and display this in a legible way. We’re still thinking about the best way to do this.

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