My paper seeks to build on Shelton’s argument and demonstrate that capital accumulation can occur within areas of racialized poverty, without residents of these neighborhoods experiencing any tangible benefits. Maps and their legends are paired with quotes from Taylor Shelton’s original study that were formative in the creation of my argument. To view the folio in its entirety, navigate to

Map showing connections between residential parcels in RECAP/RECArPs and the listed address of their owners. Created with R, ArcGIS Pro, and Illustrator.

Hot Spot Analysis indicating which parts of RECAP/RECArPs in Boston have statistically higher or lower than expected owner-occupancy. Created with ArcGIS Pro and Illustrator.

Map showing the relationship between my proposal to implement rent caps and RECAP/RECArPs in Boston. Created with R, ArcGIS Pro, and Illustrator.

The image above shows my hands flipping through the folio made to compile and display the series of maps.

The project began as an attempt to recreate a similar study conducted by Taylor Shelton for the Louisville, Kentucky to see if similar patterns existed in Boston. His paper used critical GIS to challenge traditional characterizations of areas of concentrated poverty, and he sets up standards for the terms racially/ethnically concentrated areas of (relative) poverty, or RECAP/RECArPs, and racially/ethnically concentrated areas of (relative) affluence, or RECAA/RECArAs.

The argument made by this study is similar to that of Taylor Shelton, namely that poverty and affluence cannot be defined by areal units like RECAPs or RECAAs and are created instead through flows of capital. Concentrated poverty is not characterized by the isolation of residents, but rather by the extraction of resident’s limited resources by the affluent.

Map showing the distribution of racialized poverty and racialized affluence within the city of Boston.

Physical folio created to compile and display the series of maps as a final deliverable. Designed with InDesign and created by hand.

Heat Map that indicates which areas have the highest density of ownership for parcels within racially/ethnically concentrated areas of poverty. Created with R, ArcGIS Pro, and Illustrator.

I recently completed an Advanced Spatial Analysis course for my MS, Urban Informatics program in which I visualized racialized poverty and affluence in the city of Boston and explored the relationship between residential parcel-ownership and affordability. The project was ultimately realized in the form of a physical folio to display the series of maps and argument for policy to cap rent at 30% of 5-year ACS median household income for a given census tract.

Capital Accumulation and Racialized Poverty in Boston