Tanvi Misra is a staff writer for CityLab covering immigrant communities, housing, economic inequality, and culture. She also authors Navigator, a weekly newsletter for urban explorers (subscribe here). Her work also appears in The Atlantic, NPR, and BBC.
PlanPhilly visualized a decade of city data showing street-side bacchanalia.
There ain’t no party like a Philly block party.
No, seriously. These bashes are so lit, they give dumpster-diving a whole new, refreshing meaning:
Your next Philly block party may not reach quite the above level of epic-ness, of course (and probably shouldn’t try since the city has since banned dumpster pools). But in this town, it seems like you’re never far from some sweet street-side frivolity.
The folks over at PlanPhilly have now proved that by mapping 10 years of block party data with the help of GIS analyst Shrobona Karkun. Jon Geeting, engagement editor at PlanPhilly, explains why they embarked on this important mission:
Everyone knows that this block party culture exists, but to date, there hasn't been very good information available for measuring the shape of this phenomenon.
PlanPhilly’s maps address that oversight. The one below shows the location of every block which has hosted a party between 2006 and 2016—68,553, in total, according to their count. The darker the blue, the more frequent the merriment:
The second one shows the zip codes with the heaviest concentration of summer soirees in this time period, with darker green Zip code indicating deeper party intensity:
It’s no surprise that most blocks in the dense parts of the city have seen a party or two; getting permission to host one is relatively cheap and painless. But when it comes to summer socials, not all blocks are created equal: West and North Philly, and the Port Richmond-Fishtown area clearly dominate. Some of these areas loosely overlap with gentrifying or already-gentrified neighborhoods. The presence of college campuses in West and North Philly may also help explain all the socializing in these parts.
Here’s a third map that shows each block party per month for the ten-year period, all in 30 seconds. The dots are color-coded based on the type of parties. Watch the eruption of hues during the summer months each year:
Explore Philly’s block parties in greater detail here.