A few years ago, Bill Rankin created maps of every city in America and colored them with each ethnic group. The purpose of this project was to show how segregated the majority of our country still is; even in areas you would consider to be cosmopolitan.
Above is a map of Chicago and how racially segregated that city is. If you click on the link below, you will be able to look at the maps for all of the major cities in this country.
Any city-dweller knows that most neighborhoods don’t have stark boundaries. Yet on maps, neighborhoods are almost always drawn as perfectly bounded areas, miniature territorial states of ethnicity or class.
This is especially true for Chicago, where the delimitation of Chicago’s official “community areas” in the 1920s was one of the hallmarks of the famous Chicago School of urban sociology. And maps showing perfectly homogeneous neighborhoods are still published today, in both popular and academic contexts alike. My alternative is to use dot mapping to show three kinds of urban transitions. First, there are indeed areas where changes take place at very precise boundaries — such as between Lawndale and the Little Village, or Austin and Oak Park — and Chicago has more of these stark borders than most cities in the world.
Click here to view photos: