By Nathan Fung
The 3D interactive map uses demographic data from the 2016 City of Edmonton census, allowing users to compare 200 of the city's neighbourhoods by age range, household income, languages spoken, methods of transportation to work, employment status, length of residence, marital status, and structure type.
You can see, for example, that 30% of households in Mill Woods Town Centre use public transit to get to work, compared to 13% in Edmonton as a whole. It's also a neighbourhood where 12% of residents reported being widowed, compared with 3% of all Edmontonians. Donsdale and Henderson Estates have the highest proportion of households with income over $250,000, while Virginia Park has the highest proportion of households making less than $30,000.
That's just a tiny sample of what the interactive reveals.
"I expect this to be used by a variety of Edmontonians, especially those looking to move to a different part of the city," Chen said. "I'm also hoping that non-profits can use this to target their services in a more focused fashion to reach more people, and for businesses to be able to use the demographic information to make decisions on where they might want to open a new branch, for example."
This is Edmonton is the capstone of 10 years of projects that Chen has helped bring into the world at Darkhorse. Others include a look at property assessments in Edmonton, Vancouver, and San Francisco; an animated growth map of new buildings since 1917; and the Opportunity Atlas, which used anonymous data following 20 million Americans from childhood to their mid-30s to show which neighbourhoods in the U.S. offer children the best chance to rise out of poverty.
"What motivates me is creating useful and magical things," said Chen, who also serves as president of the Canadian Open Data Society. "It excites me to see when there's a twinkle in people's eyes, and they say, 'Oh wow, this is really cool.'"
Chen is very passionate about his projects and has helped make interesting data accessible to a broader audience, said Daniel Haight, president and co-founder of Darkhorse Analytics.
"He comes at problems, visualization problems, with a very different approach, a very creative approach," he said. "He's able to stand out from the crowd because no one's ever thought of it that way, and that's probably the hallmark of what he's done and what he's meant to the data-viz community."