Add it up.

As part of a course entitled “Journalism and the Audience,” students were asked to spend the semester reporting on a specific subject matter and to use design thinking in presenting that material to a particular audience. I chose to present information on housing as my subject matter, but rather than rely heavily on text reporting, I used Los Angeles city open data to create something that enables users to explore citywide housing construction for themselves.

The project has several parts: a weekly email newsletter for a specific ZIP code that alerts users to changes on the hyperlocal scale; a website displaying interactive maps on the ZIP code and city scale to explore differences in construction patterns and change over time; and a (future, as of this writing) set of written summaries, using insights from housing experts, to explain some patterns on the city scale.

Data is obtained weekly and then cleaned and organized using a Python program. Another Python program sends emails using the SendGrid API. The website is built using Node.js, Express, and Handlebars on the back-end and Mapbox.js and VueJS on the front-end.

Explore the project at additup.jamestyner.com.

The homepage of Add it up, featuring a chloropleth map, a newsletter signup form, and high-level housing construction statistics. A screenshot of the detail webpage for ZIP code 90015, showing a map of 4,558 housing units approved there since 2013.