“A Tale of Two Cities”: Racialized Geographies in Western Queens

The following four deductions gleaned from the spatial visualization of changes in Western Queens from 2000-2017. They are not conclusive or endpoints, nor do they encapsulate all that the maps tell. They are openings for digging deeper.

They focus on the unique qualities of the public housing developments in western Queens, which also happens to be where community members who identify as Black are concentrated.


Not everything in Western Queens has changed. Some things have stayed the same.

Two maps showing that the Black community remained concentrated in local public housing in 2000 and 2017.

The buildings that house these communities are much older.

Two maps showing that public housing developments were more likely to be built in the 1940s and 1950s.

The community itself has had less access to formal education.

Two maps showing that public housing tenants are less likely than their peers to have attained a BA degree.

Access to jobs has been equally limits, and this has gotten worse with time.

Two maps for 2000 and 2017 showing that unemployment has increased in local public housing developments.

This is but one interpretation. There are many. I encourage you to view all the maps and draw your own conclusions.


Data for these maps comes from the 2000 Decennial Survey and the 5 year estimates from the 2017 American Community Survey, both conducted by the US Census. I encourage you to see the full write-up if you haven’t already.

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