Who Does The City Hear?: Identifying Biases In Political Mobilization Toward Housing Via GIS Interface
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
This paper uses an original GIS interface to capture how citizens prefer their own cities to develop. First, this interface provides users with new housing units to spatially allocate within both their city, providing a detailed resolution of how social and racial biases affect neighborhood choice for growth. Is housing dumped within low-income neighborhoods? Do some neighborhoods see the housing as an asset? Second, the interface asks respondents to vote on hypothetical developments within their own neighborhood. Doing so, the tool experimentally captures spatial sensitivity (NIMBYism) in a real, spatial context. Finally, directly addressing the challenge of growth with equity, the interface uses questions of political behavior, such as city planning meeting attendance and turnout from the voter file, to measure the bias between a city’s most politically mobilized citizens and its less vocal, largely minority residents.
Data for this project will be collected in Boston from June 1st to August 1st. The data and analysis to be conducted underscores a central debate of urban political legitimacy. Who does the City hear and how should the voice of the most politically mobilized be weighed in the low turnout, hyperlocal politics of urban development? The paper also directly addresses the conference’s theme of measurement. By collecting granular data from a real context, this paper will inform elected officials and decision makers how to better balance the citywide need for new housing and their constituents’ preferences toward urban growth.