Project 1

NYC 311 Air Quality Complaints

Which NYC boroughs and zip codes have the most air quality complaints from 2010 to 2012?

Regarding this research question, my audience would include NYC residents and the following NYC Departments: Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Department of Environmental Protection. Air quality matters because it influences people’s physical and holistic health. The following are my personal motivations for the question: my own experiences as having childhood asthma, which may have been influenced by the air quality, and my paranoia regarding the fine particles and fumes from various sources (e.g. secondhand and thirdhand smoke, health aftereffects of 9/11, construction projects) that are in the air we breathe.

Lastly, the health complications of the plan to demolish Manhattan Detention Complexes in Chinatown, NYC to build a new megajail has personally weighed on my mind, as I am emotionally and culturally connected with its community, and there is great concern regarding the release of asbestos in both buildings as the plan is put into action, as well as the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and heavy metals detected in the soil below. By better understanding where air quality complaints spatially congregate, the named NYC Departments can better focus their resources on those areas.

Kindly use the following link to my Public Tableau site for increased viewing quality:






The zipcodes with the most air quality complaints from 2010 to 2012 are all located in Manhattan: 10025 (Upper West Side), 10024 (Manhattan Valley), and 10003 (East Village).

This section should illustrate what you did and why you did it. Why did you choose the type of chart/graph/visualization that you did? How does that choice best represent the data and address your question? Through this explanation, you will illustrate that the decisions you made were intentional and how they contribute to the project. You should also explain any limitations you encountered and any subsequent compromises you made with the data or your design.

Honestly, I chose to use the dot density maps because I did not know how to create a heat map with number of complaints and zip code interactivity, which was in my original proposal. The line graph with small multiples was created to convey which borough has the most air quality complaints, while the bar graph was made to show which zip codes (and boroughs) had the most air quality complaints.

An essential limitation that hindered me from addressing the research question was the slow speed of my computer and its tendency to crash when working with large amounts of data. The computer was not capable of downloading air complaint data from 2010 to 2022, so the lower sample size that I was able to download from 2010 to 2012 may undermine the validity of the study. Additionally, I had technical trouble with lowering the size of the dots within the map, “Air Quality Complaints by Borough”, as the size slider seemed to not work. 

An alteration in scope I would make if I was able to attain access to a computer that could handle large amounts of data is increasing the scope of 311 data from January 1, 2010 12:00 AM to December 31, 2022 11:59 PM. Unfortunately, 311 data is not available from the 1990-2009, as it would have been helpful to compare the air quality complaints in all NYC boroughs years before and after 9/11. This would better address the health complication concerns of the demolishment and mega-jail building plans.



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