Interactive map turns the city’s 311 complaints into opinionated cartoons

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As you can see, Crown Heights and Bed-Stuy has problems with dancing roaches and shitting dogs

New York is a city of kvetchers, but that’s alright, there’s a lot here to kvetch about. Fare hikes, real estate prices, those no-good teens and their music, there’s a lot that’s going to piss you off when you cram so many people in such a small space. And while we don’t have an animated map for those complaints, some programers are going through all of our 311 data and putting text and feelings to everyone’s complaints about garbage, roaches and toilet problems.

The resultant map, called HereHere, doesn’t use the literal text from people’s 311 complaints, so you can at rest safely knowing people aren’t calling 311 and speaking in odd, inhuman cadences. Instead, the map’s programmers, who all work for Microsoft, sort through the city’s 311 data and attempt to sum up a neighborhood’s feelings by trying to determine how they think people would react to the numbers. In the example they give, a neighborhood would be “delighted” if a rash of problems with heaters dropped to zero, and would be “ashamed” if there was a sudden spike in homelessness.

So that’s how we end up with a place like East New York complaining that:

“I’m disappointed. Didn’t see this coming. At least this is better than it has been – no toilet concerns. That’s the most I’ve seen of this recently 11 derelict car reports and 4 sewage backup issues.”

The map also lets you know what a neighborhood was complaining about one year ago to the day and which neighborhoods lead the city in certain complaints. Williamsburg, for instance, is the king of trash complaints, apparently. It’s a fun map to play around with, just as long as you remember that no actual humans are speaking these words, assigned to the neighborhoods. Because that would just be creepy.

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