February 09, 2012

Cape Town Cyberscapes: Khayelitsha and the digital divide

For a recent project with Professor Stan Brunn, we updated and expanded our visualization on the cyberscape of Cape Town, South Africa (the original version from 2009 is here). Again this map was based on the amount of geo-coded material indexed in Google Maps using a fine grid of points approximately 1/10 of a mile apart.

This time around we were particularly interested in Khayelitsha, an informal (and fast growing) township in the Cape Town area. You can see it in the lower right of the map below (it is highlighted and vaguely boomerang shaped). The main take away from the map is the clear difference in amount of geo-coded material in Khayelitsha versus other richer, whiter parts of the region.

Map generated by Jeff Levy

Based on our previous work, this is entirely unsurprising. Nonetheless, it remains useful to visualize these inequalities at the metropolitan level in order to demonstrate that the digital divide in user-generated content operates at a variety of scales, and that even the most populated areas in terms of content are surrounded by areas with very little.

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