The American Communities Project is a program of research being carried out by S4 director John Logan. It provides information to scholars and the public about trends that affect neighborhoods, cities, and regions around the country. Initially it has focused on data about the population (from the U.S. Census) and about public schools (from other specialized sources). The intention is to update this information continually and to expand it to other aspects of communities, including public health, crime, elections, economic conditions, and the physical environment.
To emphasize how these conditions are spatially organized, this project is developing web-based GIS mapping systems that allow users to build and analyze maps via the internet. MapUSA provides data on census tracts throughout the entire United States. Two other systems cover New York State. Map US Schools provides information about public schools and school districts across the nation, including racial and class composition of students and student achievement. All these systems call attention to the concentrations of advantage and disadvantage that are typical of American communities.
The American Communities Project also provides information through more traditional tables, spreadsheets, and summary reports. The Census 2000 web pages allow users to learn about the conditions for people living in specific cities, metropolitan regions, and states. The Brown at 50 web pages report on trends in school segregation and desegregation policy, with data for all public school districts and summary data for metropolitan regions.
For several years Dr. Logan has pursued the use of historical census data to investigate social changes, especially regarding immigrants and minorities in American cities. Initially focused on New York City in 1920, his research has extended back to 1880 and now involves mapping census data in 39 major cities in that year. A sample of this work is provided in the New York City History and Albany People and Neighborhoods webpages.