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Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022
Charlottesville is changing.
We know you know that. After all, it’s impossible to go anywhere in the city without passing a construction site of some sort.
But not all of the changes are as obvious as the blaze orange detour signs and backhoes.
We wanted to know more about the changes that are easier to miss over time, the changes that sometimes come up in private conversations and in public meetings as the city begins to create a new, and dramatically different, zoning ordinance.
In summer 2021, I partnered with graduate students and a professor at UVA’s School of Data Science on a capstone project that took a data-driven look at how Charlottesville’s 19 neighborhoods have changed in the past decade, from demographics to housing costs.
That project was a jumping off point for what we’re sharing with you today, starting with what we’ve learned about the city overall, as well as two of its neighborhoods: Starr Hill and Jefferson Park Avenue.
Over the next few months, we will share 17 more, one about each of Charlottesville’s neighborhoods. Through history and a variety of data visualizations, including interactive and animated graphs, the stories will illustrate some of how Charlottesville has changed over the years.
We hope that Changing Charlottesville will help our communities to better understand our past and present for the sake of the future. We hope the data and history we present helps you think through the rezoning process as it moves forward, too.
Later this fall, we’ll share an interactive dashboard so you can explore as much of the data as you’d like.
Some of what the data show is striking to see in graphs and numbers. Take, for instance, the demographics of Starr Hill, up on our site now. The neighborhood, which has a long history as a center of Black culture and activity, is now almost entirely white. With the animated graph, you can watch Starr Hill’s Black population dwindle — something you might have missed as it was actually happening.
In the Jefferson Park Avenue neighborhood, the amount of housing has increased, but the population has not. And there’s a reason for that.
This project has taken more than a year to get off the ground. It was reported by me and Evan Mitchell and edited by Angilee Shah. Andrew Shurtleff took the beautiful photos of the neighborhoods, Jonathan Kropko edited and reviewed the data, and Ashley Harper designed the look of it all.
Have feedback, or want to tell us about your neighborhood? Reply and let us know what’s on your mind.
Thanks for joining us,
Erin O’Hare, neighborhoods reporter
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