Photo and Map Friday: The Social Determinants of the NoMa Neighborhood, Washington, DC USA

Our cities are changing.

I had the best opportunity this week to capture our nation’s capital in transition, from the vantage point of the 7th floor of the brand new NPR building (see: Designing the future of work to be collaborative, and healthy: National Public Radio’s New Headquarters, Washington, DC USA | Ted Eytan, MD) . This is the view east, into the spectacularly changing NoMa neighborhood.

NPR Headquarters Building Tour 33148
NPR Headquarters Building Tour 33148 (View on

See that curved roof in the background? That’s the former Washington, DC, Coliseum, the location of the first Beatles concert in the U.S., on February 11 1964 (see: Feb. 11 1964, the Beatles’ first concert in the United States – O Say Can You See?). Now the Uline arena, is an indoor parking lot and a graffiti canvas. However, it is about to be re-imagined, too, complete with reanactment of the first Beatles’ performance, 50 years later.

The story told by data

The NPR building happens to sit on the border of a census tract, which shows the starkest contrast in terms of social determinants of health. Note the difference in high school attainment and poverty levels on each side of North Capitol Street. Also note a relative explosion on population. You’ll see that there’s not much happening right next to the Center for Total Health (@kptotalhealth) – that’s because a large development is being built across the street from it right now – that area will turn blue soon enough.

NPR Headquarters Building Tour 33133
NPR Headquarters Building Tour 33133 (View on

Here’s the view looking west, instead of east. It will be important to save these images. Note the cranes in the background there, as well. That’s Mount Vernon Square. It won’t look like this for much longer.

Looking west, greater deprivation (today) View NPR Headquarters Building Tour 33133 on

You can access close-ups of the data here. What do you think – does this information make you want to think more broadly about health?

All maps were created at Community Commons, a great resource that’s open to the public to learn more about data and health.


Ted Eytan, MD