Bridge 2 – Collecting and Presenting Data
Coney Island lies at the southern tip of New York’s Brooklyn borough. Because of its coastal landscape, this quiet residential beach morphs into a sunny entertainment and relaxation centre for locals during the summer. Coney Island is characteristic of its great pier attached to the bustling boardwalk which is lined with cafes as far as the eye can see, and its famous Luna amusement park which is home to the crowd favourite Wonder Wheel Ferris wheel and Cyclone roller coaster that has the masses flocking to it every summer. Other attractions include the Circus Sideshow, Street performers and the Mermaid Parade all which accentuate the festive vibe to this neighbourhood.
When I visited Coney Island in the September during the summers, the beach was completely full of people in their bathing suits and the queues for the rides were never ending. However, when I visited Coney Island in February during the winters this place was completely deserted. Almost all shops were shut and the amusement park remained closed throughout. I visited the place on a weekday and on the weekend, and my observations showed that the place remained the same despite the day in the week. Despite the cold, the beach was actually a really nice place to hang out. Because it was so abandoned, the beach had a very calming and peaceful effect on me. It gave me the opportunity top listen to the sounds of nature like the gushing of the sea, the crashing of the waves under the pier, the squawking of the sea gulls and the cracking of the seashells under my feet. I found it extremely ironic that I was out on the beach dressed head to toe in heavy winter wear, playing with the waves in leather boots, and hence the experience was surprising and weird for me at first. However, as I got into the groove of things, oddly enough I started appreciating the weather and what it had done because it allowed me to experience this place in a completely different light and gave me the space to explore it with no one else around. The broad walk was all open for me to run around freely, unlike when I visited it in the summers.
For this assignment, I wanted to capture this unique essence that Coney Island has to it through my graphical depiction of the data collected from this place. The assignment required us to focus on a target group of statistical data from the neighbourhood and study it to collate it and design a visual representing of it to convey it to the viewer in an efficient manner. So, I chose to focus on data that explained the general economic trend of Coney Island. I specially picked out three data points – the distribution of different occupation groups among the population, their annual income distribution and the rate of poverty in the neighbourhood. I structured the graphs in the same order because the first graph gives contextual reasoning for the next. So essentially, in these graphs we see that the majority of the population in Coney Island is in the service industry, hence this explains why the majority’s average income is $10,000 per annum, and this in term explains why 39.5% of the population lies below the poverty line. Hence, this flow of information allows the reader to understand how the service industry doesn’t always allow for a sufficient living. Coney Island as a whole did not seem very urbanised, and still had a rural feel to it. This is probably explained by the fact that a huge chunk of the population lies below the poverty line, hence showing that my observations complimented the data collected.
I wanted to capture the essence of Coney Island through my graphics and make the infograohic visually appealing. So, I decided to incorporate elements of the neighbourhood into my graph. The pie chart has been converted into a Ferris wheel, and the line graph assimilated with the waves crashing on the shore of the beach. The colour scheme is bright and colourful to capture the colours of the amusement park.
This assignment helped me understand the importance of how designing guides how people read data, and how correlations between data can be used to tell a story. The visuals are often neglected in favour of the matter, but through this process I saw how the visuals essentially dictate the matter.