Digital Cartographies of Displacement
Data as Property and Property as Data
Keywords:Critical GIS, Digital Mapping, Housing, Gentrification, Data, Property
This paper situates the proliferation of both anti-displacement and real estate digital mapping in the wake of the San Francisco Bay Area’s Tech Boom 2.0. It also looks at the growth of corporate digital mapping platforms, some of which are used by both anti-displacement and real estate mapping projects. Drawing primarily upon experience mapping with the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, I look at some of the contradictions and correlations between anti-displacement digital mapping and the materiality of technocapitalist-induced dispossession. As I question, how can one map displacement with some of the same GIS tools that co-constitute the very conditions of such displacement? At the same time, I look at how other housing-oriented digital mapping projects such as Evictor Lab and LandGrid have appropriated other groups’ data and produced results antithetical to anti-eviction organizing. Studying these contradictions allows me to interrogate data as property, along with property as data. Both analytics, when paired together, offer new insights into the state of digital displacement mapping amidst a sea of real estate and smart city-oriented mapping platforms. Thinking these together allows me to question the limits of data appropriation and possibilities of platform expropriation for emancipatory futures.
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