Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The London Riots & Social Equality

In the UK I think it is now illegal to try and connect the recent rioting with social deprivation or economic inequality. The government and the mainstream media has decided that unless you blame bad parenting, social networking sites or a breakdown of moral order for the riots then you should be publicly castigated as a supporter and excuser of wanton criminality.

The Centre of Full Employment and Equity seem to be ignoring this new political orthodoxy by creating a Google Map overlaying the location of riot incidents on top of unemployment data.

The British Local Unemployment and the August 2011 Riots Map includes two layers: the local area unemployment rate range and riot incident data from the UK Guardian Open Data Blog.

The dark blue areas on the map show areas with high employment rates. At the risk of encouraging a visit from the UK thought police I have to say that the areas with high employment rates seem to have been largely unaffected by the recent rioting.

The Guardian themselves have used the riot incident data to create a Riots & Poverty Data Map.



The Guardian says that "The darker reds represent poorer places, the blues are the richer areas. What do you think? Is there a correlation between the two?" I'm going to say it - 'Yes, there is'.

Someone has also taken a KML from the London Riots - Verified Areas map and displayed it on MapTube Map with the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD). The IMD is a method of identifying deprived areas across the UK.



Overlaying the locations of the riots and looting on top of the IMD layer reveals that most of the trouble is occurring more in areas with high deprivation than in more affluent locations.

Curating Geodata from Social Media to Map the London Riots:
Whilst we are on the subject of the UK riots Directions Magazine has a good podcast discussion looking at the challenge of using social media as geodata and what journalists, geospatial professionals and the public can learn from these efforts.


OK, with that done we can now get back to blaming the parents and Twitter.

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