Studio Project

Placing Segregation

Placing Segregation explores housing segregation and socioeconomic disparities across select nineteenth century American cities through interactive maps and interpretations. Rather than using aggregated datasets collected at city ward levels to make inferences about past urban geographies, this work has combined city directories and period advertisements with census records to rebuild historical address systems and geolocate every possible family in the 1860 census for the cities of Washington, D.C., Nashville, Tennessee, and, for the 1870 census, the city of Omaha, Nebraska. Geolocated individuals provide rich new data points for historical researchers seeking highly granular empirical and quantitative analysis, as mid-nineteenth century census records contain extensive details which were not collected in subsequent decades. This digital edition puts historical census records into an interactive map application, allowing audiences to conduct all kinds of exploratory work such as searching records by name, filtering by occupational groups, or just clicking on points to read about various individuals.