Friday, March 16, 2018

Historical GIS: Urban Transition Project

The Urban Transition Historical GIS Project uses historical census data to document the state of U.S. cities from the end of the nineteenth century into the early twentieth century. The site explains that "These were the decades of America’s urban transition, fed by rapid growth of industry and large-scale immigration from Eastern and Southern Europe that was directed primarily into cities. In 1880 nearly half of total employment was in agriculture, but this share dropped to about 25% by 1920, and by this time about half of the population lived in urban areas." Using the North American Population Project's 100% digital transcription of records from the 1880 Census, the "Urban Transitions" project has developed several additional resources to make possible analysis of social patterns at the level of individuals and households while also taking into account information about their communities.
    Although the site is technical, both in the descriptions of data sources and in the GIS tools used, anyone can use the web-based interactive map for 1880, for which a brief user guide is supplied.
     The ongoing project is directed by John Logan, professor of sociology at Brown University.