By Jiang Liu
February 24, 2016
Liu Willow Jiang
I’m going to do a report of vacant buildings in downtown Syracuse, in which I will collect the data about vacant buildings including their names, history, locations and plans, map those spots in downtown and explore reasons for being abandoned of those buildings. Besides that, I’ll also collect the vacant building rate in recent years in downtown, and comparing these figures to reflect the situation of space and resource utilization and the trend in downtown Syracuse.
To finish this project, I need to acquire the basic information of downtown buildings, including the vacancy rate, their names, amount and locations, the history of the building and vacancy. I will acquire some basic data from hope Downtown Syracuse Committee and the Code Enforcement Department , but I don’t think they will have such sophisticated data like the building’s history and its vacant history, so I’ll probably have to do some further research to get those data based on basic information.
I preliminarily think about using CartoDB to map the spots, which will provide a picture of locations and distribution of those buildings. I’ll also fill more information about its history of how long it has been vacant, the history of the building and its prospective into the hover blank, making the more specific information available to audiences. The other tool I want to use is Highchart, which can illustrate the vacant rate and its fluctuation these years. With the further exploration of the reason behind the scene, I might use NVD3 or vertical timeline to visualize the history and any other figures of vacant buildings, to help audience depict a contour of the downtown buildings.
Some unknowns I need to flesh out in my report would be: How many vacant buildings in downtown Syracuse nowadays? What’s the vacancy rate? how’s the rate when comparing with the average level nationwide? What are main reasons that caused such situation? Will there be any change in the near future? Other newsworthy questions may follow up with the processing of the story, and I believe the more unknowns to be clarified, the more valuable report it would be.
Things may go wrong with any projects, no exception for this one. So far the main problem of my project would still be the data collection, I concern about what if I can’t get valid data from the bureau. I have sent emails to that department and am still waiting for response. If I can’t get valid information from that department, I’ll probably change a topic and leave this project to be a long-term research till next semester, when I have sufficient time to do it. The other optional topic would be how SU make Syracuse a college town. I want to specify the important status of SU in Syracuse. Syracuse business largely relies on SU students, who would bring enormous consumption of transportation, recreation and catering business during school days, so I want to visualize how much do SU students boost these fields, how much taxes does SU contribute to local government and how much more facility pressure does the university bring to the city generally. To be secure I prepared this plan, but still, hopefully this plan B won’t be used (finger crossed).
The other thing might go wrong would be the deficiency of the data. The data provided by the committee can be invalid due to the lack of samples or important information. If the data itself went wrong, I’ll have to enrich the dataset first by my own research; instead, if the amount of vacant buildings is not enormous, or the story would actually be less phenomenal as I expected, I would respect the fact and explore the other aspect to tell the story.