Neighborhoods Project – Portland, Seattle, Vancouver

This Project is an attempt to map neighborhoods as one piece of a city’s image. Neighborhoods can be generally defined as two-dimensional sections of a city that have a defined extent. They are areas which you can enter or exit or use to mentally orient within a city. Real and imagined, neighborhoods make a difference in every aspect of our lives. They are zones of inclusion and exclusion, used by municipalities, realtors, school districts, tourists and locals to define what is special or unique about a place or even how you can interact with a space. Neighborhoods are defined by all of the people moving in, out and through them.

The project lives at

The site was built to allow you to map neighborhoods in Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, BC.

Neighborhood names are not defined. It will be great to watch as neighborhoods develop and overlap from user contributions. Especially the way areas of agreement and conflict, inclusion and exclusion emerge from your contributions.

There are a few questions once you submit your neighborhood, but the only required one is ‘Neighborhood Name’. Simply select from that list as you type if the name exists already, or add your own. 

Once you add your neighborhood (or hopefully many neighborhoods), check out the live results! Click ‘View Maps’ to see what has been contributed so far. Here is a screen shots from test data.

Toggle the base map and Highlight Neighborhoods for a pretty map of the geometry of neighborhoods;

An opacity formula is used to generate the appropriate opacity for n contributions so the full opacity of overlapping polygons of the same neighborhood is always .8. CartoDB is being used to save and generate result tiles. It was great to work with and I recommend giving it a look. In addition, this site was built using Leaflet, Bootstrap, CartoDB, cartoCSS. Mapquest Tiles, and more. I’ll go over technical details in another post.

If you know Portland, Seattle, or Vancouver, BC — Please Contribute!

I also want to point out that this project took considerable inspiration from Bostonography’s ‘Mapping Boston’s Neighborhoods‘. If you can contribute there, go for it.

  “…we must learn to see the hidden forms in the vast sprawl of our cities” – The Image of The City, Lynch 1960

4 thoughts on “Neighborhoods Project – Portland, Seattle, Vancouver”

    1. Thanks Hugh,
      I, along with other extentPNW contributors, will make maps and do some spatial analysis of the results as we get a more substantial data set. But, yes, the data is from the public, and should be publicly avaialable. I want to have a download button right on the site so you can get it straight away as it is collected, but I haven’t gotten around to making that happen. But be assured that there will be open access to the user contributed data as soon as I can put it together. – Nick

    2. Hugh, I have finally done one, or two better. There is now a link on the site in the lower right to download the entire current data set as a shapefile. And also a link to the code in GitHub. The site is much improved, and is much more in the spirit of open data and code.

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