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From The Peopling of NYC


Sociowiki is our catch phrase for social geography, a term used to describe the study of the link between societal traits and their geographic location. There is debate amongst those who use the term as to what specific aspects of the society, such as history, demography or even economics, should be considered in connection to the landscape. All can be considered perfectly plausible methods of studying the connection.

Many attempts at defining social geography have been made, spanning the spectrum of focus on either sociology or geography. J.W. Watson defined social geography as "the identification of different regions of the earth's surface according to associations of social phenomena related to the total environment." This is more or less what our webpage attempts to accomplish.

Each of the different neighborhoods histories have been shaped by specific places or institutions, such as how NYU's relocation to Greenwich Village radically altered its future, driving up housing costs and swiftly changing the demographics. Each of these geographic forces affected its surrounding area and by studying these landmarks we hope understand the stories behind each of the five different neighborhoods To learn more visit our social geography section.

Why the multiple neighborhood approach?

New York and New York City especially have always been regarded as an amalgam of countless cultures and people. Therefore, in approaching this project, focus on a single neighborhood, albeit a slightly more detailed one, would have been simply insufficient to encapsulate the larger cultural and geographical changes the city has bore throughout its lengthy history. By researching multiple neighborhoods with a focus on social, structural and historical elements, we strove to create a visual as well as literary documentation that would culminate in a general understanding of the similarities and differences shared by our various neighborhoods as well as the larger conclusion we would be able to draw about the Social Geography of New York City as a whole. From Hell's Kitchen to Chelsea, from Greenwich Village to SoHo and to Park Slope and beyond, our studies represent the growth and history of a rapidly changing urban environment and the shifts of persons and cultures within it.

What should I expect from each individual webpage?

Our goal in individualizing our webpages is to provide and disseminate large amounts of information on various aspects of the neighborhoods without confusing the visitor with large amounts of data.. Therefore, with elegance as our primary approach to creating the wiki pages, each group has attempted not only to create individual pages providing information on various individual aspects of their neighborhoods but also to reflect and represent the particular attraction and "vibe" present in each one. Our Chelsea wiki, for example, is a fascinating breakdown of a constantly changing shopping and cultural center. Visitors to our Greenwich Village site will find various information on the historical and architectural aspects of the neighborhood as well as the counterculture movements that have made it famous. The famous and sometimes infamous Hell's Kitchen presents a gritty neighborhood and immigrant haven transformed into a business center with several historic hot spots. One cannot ignore the wealth of history present in Park Slope, a beautiful neighborhood that caters to the New Yorker upper class and has been listed as one of top ten best eco-neighborhoods in America. Last but not least, SoHo presents an industrial factory, an artist hangout and a rapidly growing real estate market in one. Together, these neighborhood paint an indelible picture of our beloved city.

Why Wiki?

Our website is a wiki. Although the general connection made with that word is to wikipedia, it is only one of many wikis. A wiki is a website which can be altered by any end user accessing the website. Users edit or create pages using extremely simple markup language, avoiding the complications of html or other complex formatting languages.

By using a wiki, we were able to circumvent many of the logistical problems common to collaborative efforts. Group work could be done on our own schedules, allowing group meetings to focus more on conceptual design and less on wasteful management and planning. Instead of having one or several group members in charge of compiling the work of others and processing it into a webpage, as would be necessary if we were working with a typical page, each individual student could visit the website at their leisure and create content on the fly.

Who We Are

We are Professor Napoli's "Peopling of New York City" class.
We are the Macaulay Honors College at Brooklyn College of CUNY.
We are the People of New York City.
Find out more about who we are by visiting our directory page.

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