Seven Taverns For Each Playground: Fantastic Bunge Bio from IndieMaps.com
Zachary Johnson, the cartographer/geographer behind IndieMaps.com, wrote up a fascinating bio/review of William Bunge, a prominent social geographer from the times before mashups and slippy maps. The images in this post are excerpted from the Bunge-created maps on IndieMaps.com and I believe they all first appeared in Wiliam Bunge's "Fitzgerald: Geography of a Revolution," 1971, Schenkman Pub. Co.
Bunge co-founded the Detroit Geographical Expedition and Institute in the late 60's, which from what I can tell, was an ambitious project that would combine free classes for low-income Detroit residents as well as sociological research projects, both of which would be focused on urban/social geography to an extent. He produced all sorts of fascinating maps illustrating the racial and economic disparities in Detroit (and across the rest of the country), and their impact on people. (An ardent Communist, he later went on to become a radical blacklisted by HUAC and produced maps supporting various anti-nuclear weaponry policies among other subjects, but that's the subject of another blog post :)
As someone primarily interested in community mapping, some of these Detroit maps are horrifying in their implications: it's one thing to see evidence of neighborhoods with 7:1 tavern:playground ratios, but the maps about children routinely run down at specific intersections or babies bitten by rats are very powerful, even 40+ years after they were created.
If you're not already convinced of the power of maps for telling stories about our communities and our world, this article should do the trick. Props to Zach Johnson of IndieMaps.com for the great article and bibliography.