Makeover Monday | Week 11 | 2019: Philadelphia Real Estate Transfers

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Week 11 marks the first week of me running #MakeoverMonday as a quasi solo act. Andy is taking a well deserved break from the community engagement of this project because recent actions but a few people have really spoiled the fun.

I do fully support his decision and will make sure the project continues the way we both want it to be. But at the same time it hurts to see my Makeover Monday partner and best friend having to go through this. He is, without a doubt, the most giving person I know and everything he has contributed to the wider dataviz community has come from a place of caring, passion and a genuine interest in helping others be successful.

I’m sure Makeover Monday will continue and new people will join the project as we move along. It will probably look a bit different over time and I haven’t quite figured out the next few steps, but I still have ideas, there are still things I want to add and implement, to help more people and to make the whole operation more scalable. So stay tuned…

For this week, we’re looking at Real Estate Transfers in Philadelphia. The original viz comes from Philadelphia’s open data portal and looks like this:


What works well:

  • Great simple color scheme
  • Area chart works well for time series data
  • Bar chart is a good indicator of the number of different document types

What could be improved:

  • What does ‘Document date’ mean? The titles are not very insightful or engaging
  • The subtitles look like they didn’t have much thought put into them
  • The map is very small and not very detailed
  • What is the story here? What insights can I gain from the viz?

What I focused on:

  • Doing something simple and fairly quick as I am on holiday and working on reducing my screen time as much as possible.
  • To me, real estate always screams financial crisis, especially looking at US real estate market figures, so I wanted to relate the data to what happened in 2007-2009.
  • Showing the pattern of the impact across months and years. There seems to be a slight seasonality in the market with more properties being transferred in Septemer and fewer in the last quarter, but the slump is consistent across all months (of course).

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