Want to know how close you live to schools, parks or police precincts?
Does your neighborhood have more cultural organizations or waste dumps?
How many drug treatment centers, food pantries, or places to get free legal help are in your community?
The Department of City Planning’s interactive Facilities Explorer map, which launched this week in Beta mode, gives New Yorkers access to all of that information.
The map’s database aggregates more than 35,000 records from 43 different public data sources provided by city, state and federal agencies, grouping these government-funded sites into categories like “health and human services,” “education, child welfare and youth,” and “core infrastructure and transportation.”
The goal is to give community boards, council members, agencies and others a user-friendly way to figure out where facilities and services are located as they consider future plans and projects, city officials explained.
“A key component of capital planning is knowing the resources that exist today,” said Rachaele Raynoff, City Planning spokeswoman.
“The Facilities Explorer is an intuitive interactive map that harnesses open data in an easy-to-use tool, empowering planners, students, researchers, community advocates and all New Yorkers to understand the breadth of government facilities and services in our neighborhoods to promote well-informed, collaborative community-building.”
The information will also be useful when it comes to addressing the city’s Fair Share system to make sure that city facilities, like shelters and garbage transfer stations, are evenly distributed across the boroughs.
The City Council is proposing legislation to update the Fair Share system to make it more transparent, include more proactive planning and ensure there’s sufficient community input.
The map comes, however, comes with disclaimers, including that the data is only as complete and reliable as what is provided to City Planning from various agencies.
The map, for instance, does not presently appear to include homeless shelters.
The information also has data regarding capacity at some facilities, but not all, depending on whether agencies provide it.
So, while there's information on how many seats a public school has and whether it's overcrowded, there aren't figures for how much waste a plant processes or how many clients a clinic is serving.