Yo, Data! Watch roof decks spread through South Philly since 2006

Yo, Data is an occasional feature by tech whiz and South Philly resident Angela Minster, in which she crunches the numbers and makes ’em all nice and pretty. Know of any data sets you can customize to South Philly? Let us know at punk@passyunkpost.com.

Roof decks are the height of urban-living outdoor luxury. As it turns out, roof deck is also a synonym for development.

We looked at roof deck permits from L&I records and found that since 2006 (when the data starts) South Philly has added 3,089 new roof decks. A whopping 59 percent of them are in Graduate Hospital and Point Breeze. Just counting the roof decks added since 2006, that’s 16 roof decks per 100 residential buildings in Graduate Hospital. So if you live in that neighborhood, there’s a 16 percent chance that you can hang out on your own roof deck.

The interactive map below shows every roof deck and the roof deck rate by neighborhood over time.

You can watch the spread of development head down into Point Breeze and further south via roof-deck spread:


Stay tuned next week for Part II where we compare South Philly to the rest of the city.

The Fine Print: Roof deck permit data from the L&I API, only decks listed as in progress or complete were included. Residential buildings include multi-use buildings, data from city 2015 tax assessment data. Neighborhood delineation comes from Azavea Commons. Thanks, Azavea!

4 thoughts on “Yo, Data! Watch roof decks spread through South Philly since 2006

  • September 2, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    Well done, but what the hell is Greenwhich?

    • September 2, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      Yeah, we had to rely on a base map from someone else, which included that.

    • September 2, 2014 at 7:13 pm

      I’ve also seen that area referred to as “Greenwich-Lovely” on an older city planning doc. I believe there are a lot of smaller neighborhoods that have gotten absorbed by larger areas over time, or that are known today by new names or more than one name.

  • September 7, 2014 at 10:00 am

    This is an awesome idea, and well implemented. Do you plan to make your Yo, Data! data and code available on Github? I’ve found getting started with the L&I data a bit frustrating and some guidance through code would be invaluable.

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