By mapping rat infestations, New York City's health inspectors have found a whole new way to beat back the rodents.
"Michael Mills, a veteran health inspector in New York City, helps create a map of the city you won't find in any guidebook: a rat map.
The city's rat map was first introduced a year ago, with an intensive pilot program in the Bronx. Mills and other inspectors scoured the streets, building by building, cataloging rat hotspots - places that show so-called active rat signs, such as lived-in burrows, fresh droppings, tell-tale gnaw marks on plastic garbage bags - in an effort to target rodent-control measures more effectively. That geocoding information was entered into each inspector's hand-held indexing computer and aggregated with similar data from all across the borough.
Today, rodent complaints by residents from all over New York are electronically pinpointed on the city's computerized rat map, which allows inspectors to track complaints and hotspots over time and determine how well rat-control efforts are working. The results, after just one year, should be music to the ears of most New Yorkers: When the pilot study began in the Bronx, inspectors found active rat signs on 3,100 of the borough's 39,000 properties. Preliminary results now show that 1,250 of those properties are rat-free. That's a 40% dropoff in infestations."
What We Really Mean When We Say Gentrification
The focus on gentrifying communities has, in many cases, eclipsed the similar problems facing more stagnant neighborhoods.
Study: Market-Rate Development Filters Into Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing
New research sheds new light on one of the most hotly debated questions in planning and development.
The End of Single-Family Zoning in California
Despite a few high-profile failures, the California State Legislature has approved a steady drumbeat of pro-development reforms that loosen zoning restrictions. The state raised the stakes on its zoning reforms this week.
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.