‘Atlas of Inequality’ maps where rich, poor do and don’t mix

By Sandra Larson

How much economic diversity do you encounter at your neighborhood cafe or the coffee shop near work? How about at your city’s museums, retail stores, public parks or airport?

Researchers at the MIT Media Lab have created the Atlas of Inequality to dig into such questions. The interactive map of the Boston metropolitan area provides a snapshot of income homogeneity or diversity among people visiting thousands of local destinations.

Income inequality and income segregation often are discussed in terms of the neighborhoods people live in. Here, the focus is on identifying where people of different incomes do or don’t encounter one another as they move about the city to work, eat, do errands, or soak up arts and culture.

“What you see in the map is actually what people do during the day at the level of place. It allows us to see how different income groups get together,” says Esteban Moro, principle investigator for the project and visiting MIT professor from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid in Spain.

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