How close are parks to Chicago Public Schools? Does it matter?


Utilizing Geographical Information Systems (GIS) it is not too complicated to generate "new data" and visualize what exists. Maps can be created for myriad reasons, with an intricacy and precision that was too far out of reach for the layman just a decade ago. (Yes, I am still newb.)

When I think about business, and what could be gleaned for the purpose of strategic marketing: famous (Chicago) ethnic enclaves, foot traffic at an intersection, billboard placements, advertisement signs, or socio-economic metrics like average household income and population densities for a geographical region... I know their is incredible potential to compile and produce some real breath-taking stuff.

For example, this map of Chicago with the I-55 highway artery moving southwest to northeast illustrates public green infrastructure.

This map was created by layering Chicago city zip-codes (dark blue lines), Chicago Public Schools (dots with names), and public park shape files (green area tiles). The light-blue bubble is a 1500 ft. radius from each elementary K-8th grade school. Student populations are illustrated by the circle fill-color. Darker circles have populations of higher than 500 students.

A science teacher wanting to conduct a class outside should (weather permitting) be able to briskly walk this distance within 15 minutes. For example, Carnegie in the SE corner is a K-8 school with < 500 students that has easy access to a small park as well as Jackson Park.

I was able to extract two statistics that were fed into other economic modeling. First, a total public green space / zip-code was calculated. Within the 65 zip-codes, an average of 5-7% of the real estate is designated as public parks. Second, a “nearest park from school” was tabulated and fed into an HLM model where, this became a neighborhood quality parameter. (This is visualized by an orange line.)

Myriad marketing & demographic modeling can be visualized for business strategy. This is the stuff of "a picture is a thousand words."



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