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.

 
"New York and the Vanguard of Digital Design" - The New York Times
Feb 22, 2008 — The New York Times, City Room

Sewell Chan reviews "Design and the Elastic Mind," a new MoMA exhibition which features Architecture and Justice

"Several works in “Design and the Elastic Mind,” an exhibition that opens at the Museum of Modern Art on Sunday, offer intriguing and unexpected perspectives on New York. A team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has mapped the international phone calls and Internet traffic that connect the city with countries around the world, showing, for example, just how often Queens immigrants are on the phone back home with India. A design lab at Columbia University has traced the costs of incarceration in poor minority neighborhoods, demonstrating that taxpayers in some cases pay $1 million a year to imprison inmates from a single Brooklyn block.

In a review published today in The Times, Nicolai Ouroussoff writes that the exhibition “makes the case that through the mechanism of design, scientific advances of the last decade have at least opened the way to unexpected visual pleasures.” Several of the works are of particular interest to people who care about the future of cities."

Read more at: 

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/22/new-york-and-the-vanguard-of-digital-design/?hp

 
Criminal Justice Dept.: Rap Map
Jan 08, 2007 — The New Yorker, Lauren Macintyre

"From water pipes to porn shops, cartographers have charted almost every aspect of local urban life, giving rise to a sort of cottage industry: the New York City specialty map. The latest—and one you are not likely to see unless you run in criminal-justice circles—is a rendering of the city that breaks down, block by block, the home addresses of all New Yorkers incarcerated in a given year. This map won’t get you from Century 21 to the Met. But it does reveal that more prison-bound Bronx residents lived in walkups than in any other type of building, that Staten Island is the most law-abiding borough, and that Brooklyn—nicknamed “the borough of churches”—ran up the state’s highest bill in prison costs.

Eric Cadora and Charles Swartz, co-founders of the Brooklyn-based Justice Mapping Center, collaborated on the project with an architect named Laura Kurgan, at Columbia’s Spatial Information Design Lab. “What started out as a scholarly inquiry has turned into a national initiative,” said Cadora, whose team has mapped twelve cities so far. Their New York is a digital crazy quilt of “bright-against-black”: the areas least touched by incarceration in 2003, the year they chose to study (Riverdale, Bay Ridge, the West Village), appear black and gray; those more so (Coney Island, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Hell’s Kitchen) neon orange."

Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/01/08/criminal-justice-dept-rap-map