My good friend MV Jantzen ( @mvs202 ) is not a physician or in public health. He doesn’t study social determinants of health. The first thing he said to me when I went to go see this unique visualization of Capital Bikeshare ( @bikeshare ) trips in Washington, DC, on its busiest day, March, 23, 2012, was “I was able to do this because of open data.”
Compare this piece with another piece on the other side of the room:
On the left is a visualization of crime in Washington, DC, with the biggest cutouts being homicide, the smallest assault. The right, the visualization of bike trips. There are bike stations throughout the city. Do you notice how one image is the mirror of the other? The part of the city with reduced bike trips and higher violence (Wards 7 and 8 ) also has the highest obesity rate, higher than the most obese state in the United States – 42 %. If you want to familiarize yourself with that map, see “Do national numbers inaccurately represent Washington, DC’s obesity condition? what electronic and personal health records can do to help“
Think about it – every part of Washington, DC has access to this technology (cell service, bikeshare stations), and yet there is a dramatic and visible difference in health. These images teach that community wellness is more complex than creating the right app, even more complex than individual behavior change.
Art + data teaches valuable lessons (hmm…where I have learned that before :)).
Thanks, MV, and the DC Arts Center for making this real. The show that this is part of, “Zeitgeist III” runs through June 10. More photos below, as well as the video of the Capital Bikeshare visualization. You can learn more about that piece on MV’s blog.
“Rise up with me against the organisation of misery,” – For more information on social determinants of health, see my post on the Marmot review (“Now Reading: Why a focus on lifestyle behavior change may not improve health: The Marmot Review“)