The Million Dollar Blocks initiative began in 2004 with a grant from the Open Society Institute, the JEHT Foundation and expanded to include several interrelated projects dealing with questions of architecture and justice.

ProPublica Article Features Million Dollar Blocks

The Million Dollar Blocks project was featured in a recent article about countering bias in data driven journalism published by ProPublica. Author, Lena Groeger, describes the myriad ways that journalistic projects are (often unwittingly) biased from their outset as a result of design decisions made by their authors. Groeger highlights the Million Dollar Blocks project’s approach to investigating the criminal justice system, namely investigating the geographies of incarceration rather than the geographies of crime, as a counter example to standard narratives about the justice system.  

Read the full article here


"The Human Face of Big Data" features Million Dollar Blocks
Feb 24, 2016 — Spatial Information Design Lab

Laura Kurgan was interviewed about the Million Dollar Blocks project for the PBS documentary "The Human Face of Big Data." The documentary aired nationally on February 24, 2016 and featured Laura Kurgan speaking about the Center for Spatial Research's unique approach to mapping and data visualization: "And there is always that moment in data vizualization where you are looking at tons and tons of data. The point is not to look at the tons and tons of data but to look at what are the stories that emerge out of it."

The Human Face of Big Data explores the impace of our current data-filled age: "With the rapid emergence of digital devices, an unstoppable, invisible force is changing human lives in incredible ways. Every two days the human race is now generating as much data as was generated from the dawn of humanity through the year 2003. The massive gathering and analyzing of data in real time is allowing us to address some of humanity's biggest challenges but as Edward Snowden and the release of NSA documents have shown, the accessibility of all this data comes at a steep price. This film captures the promise and peril of this extraordinary knowledge revolution."

Watch the documenary here.