The Eviction Lab
It's my honor to serve with Princeton University's Eviction Lab (led by sociologist and author of Evicted, Matthew Desmond) as Creative Director for the recently-launched evictionlab.org. A year ago, Desmond approached me with a project of daunting scale: he and his Lab had compiled over 83 million court records to create the first-ever nationwide database of eviction statistics, and he had a website in mind that would offer the following features:
- A map tool that plots eviction rates from the state level down to Census block groups, and everything in between
- The ability to layer on other census variables as well, to explore possible correlations
- Graphing tools to compare locations and their eviction trends over time
- The ability to generate PDF, Powerpoint, and Excel spreadsheet reports for user-selected locations
- An eviction rankings tool to reveal America's top evicting locations
- Blog posts and other static web pages
Long story short, I put together and led a team of designers and developers to realize this vision, and the result can be seen at evictionlab.org. A front page New York Times article announced the project to the world, and an NPR Fresh Air interview with Desmond followed soon after. My team and I were also interviewed by our mapping technology partner, Mapbox, and I served as a panelist at their Locate! conference. Since then, we’ve seen nearly 150 articles mentioning the dataset in local and national outlets, and cities around the country have taken note and begun to reckon with their eviction crises.
I'm glad to see this website helping to bring America's invisible eviction epidemic to light, because losing one's home comes with a host of negative social consequences. As Desmond says, "without stable shelter, everything else falls apart."