Asking for advice on mapping impoverished neighborhoods

Posted by Ernestpcosby on 23 May 2017 in English (English)

Is there an actual way to map poorer communities in a way that gets that idea across? I don't mean third world country poor, just like slightly more impoverished neighborhoods, maybe kind of American style poorer neighborhoods. Is there a distinct look these types of neighborhoods have on the map? So far the main thing I've done is put some mostly abandoned strip malls and a couple discount supermarkets and businesses like hair salons, laundromats, and non-chain fast food type places. Most of Quentinsburgh is meant to be pretty well off (upper lower class to upper middle class), but there are one or two poorer areas that I don't quite know how to map.

Comment from martinum4 on 23 May 2017 at 07:26

How about tagging the surface of the corresponding highways as gravel and only small buildings without a lot of space around them? Generally I'd aim for a more spontaneous and unplanned look.

Kind regards


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Comment from eklas on 23 May 2017 at 07:50

For spontaneously built neighborhoods that always were poorer, use small, cramped buildings with tiny gardens and dense, narrow net of streets; for declining neighborhoods I recommend blocks with gaps from demolished houses, brownfield sites and shrubs.

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Comment from No Way on 23 May 2017 at 14:33

Don't forget to add title companies, pawn shops and payday loan centers. You can add some prepaid cellular telephone provider retail shops as well.

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Comment from Thunderbird on 23 May 2017 at 18:30

Here's Patriot City's poorest area, not mapped in full detail but a good example. Few parks, near a large industrial area, motorway, and undesirable marsh.

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Comment from Ernestpcosby on 23 May 2017 at 19:16

Thanks guys. That should help a lot.

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Comment from thilo on 23 May 2017 at 19:47

Poorer neighborhoods are often characterized by some kind of public housing, which can have distinct building patterns:

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Comment from Portopolis on 23 May 2017 at 22:22

Their are two general styles for the American hood. 1. NE style is were dense Rowhome neighborhoods lost their jobs (dead industrial area, or an absent comercial area would be appropriate) the problem with this style is only subtle things are different as rich rowhome neighborhoods could have similar housing stock and be poor. Southern style shotgun shack houses, with similar things as the northern area. This is easier to draw as wealthy areas/gentrified tend to have larger lots connected to each other and townhomes which look obviously different on a map. Then their are two different examples of modern hoods in America.

  1. This is the first suburbs, tonfar to be gentrified but too close to be considered safe from the city crime. These places are declining or already declined suburbs that usually have a dead mall, very few grocery stores as most closed and the large retail refuses to go in.

  2. Similar to the dead suburbs is the place were the suburb might be completely "okay" but huge American style apartments were built on main roads near the suburban housing stock causing the entire neighborhood to decline. Some of these suburbs like Fondren and Alief in Houston might even have a master-planned look to them. The abundance of apartments on the map are tell tale signs.

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Comment from Sarepava on 23 May 2017 at 23:48

Poorer access to mass transit links is also a feature, and often a contributing cause, of impoverished areas.

Wealthier housing developments tend to feature cul-de-sacs and more exclusive/secluded properties, whereas in poorer areas buildings are closer together and may lack large yards, off-road parking etc. Also a lesser amount of greenery and other ornamental features, since these are more likely to be vandalized.

Schools will lack extensive sports facilities and maybe have more functional buildings.

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Comment from Portopolis on 24 May 2017 at 00:37

Also here is some city zones to give you an idea of what you can do for Quentinsburgh.

I would say most American cities between 1-2 million to 10 million follow a pattern in the link above similar to,

                                              MC           Poor          Industrial
                                                         MC  Poor  Poor
MC       MC       EC       MW          EW       CBD  Poor      MC           MW
                                         MC            MC     Poor                 MC             MW

EC- Edge City MC- Middle Class MW- Moderately Wealthy EW- Extremely Wealthy

Most American cities in the above range are covered by poor neighborhoods (Austin as well as others are an exception), this is why the city is often demonized. What a lot of people don't know is that it isn't as simple as ring of poor neighborhoods surrounding the city followed by a ring of nice neighborhoods and finally the exurban communities. In fact most cities have a direction from the CBD/zone of transition were the vast amount of people are wealthy. In Houston it is West of CBD, Dallas it is North of CBD, In Philadelphia it is SE and NE of the CBD, Atlanta-North, Birmingham- SE, San Antonio- North/NE etc. Their are various geographical reasons why but in general the super wealthy all live in one direction away from the city center why the rest of the core is often poor to lower middle class and it is really only the suburbs and exurbs that are extremely rich. But even then in the suburban ring their is often a bad apple city/suburb that is struggling. This personally helped me since most of the inner city predominantly black and Hispanic neighborhoods are poor (San Antonio, NYC, LA etc. have exceptions for Hispanic and NYC/Atlanta and D.C have exceptions for black etc.), but you can see how what I said stands true although it isn't as circular as the model tries to frame it. The reason why larger cities 10 million+ don't follow this model is because they have gentrified the inner parts of the city mostly so many of the poor can't afford to live next to the center of the city and are pushed out to the endless suburbia. the reason small cities don't follow this is because small cities are often split east vs. west on who is poor and rich etcetera, regardless of where the CBD is.

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Comment from Sarepava on 24 May 2017 at 08:40

Really insightful comment, Portopolis. Thinking about my own city which has water on one side, the rich neighborhoods surround the main road to the north and the railway which both go eventually to London. The poor areas are to the east and west, furthest from rail stations and along lower grade roads that only go to local towns. I live in a middle-income area that is on a route leading to the motorway but not the most direct from the city center. So it really does seem that ease of travel is a key factor in the income and character of a neighborhood.

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