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Technological advances drive societal change. Often technology leads to the development of new infrastructure which is at the core of urban development which in turn affects real estate values and demographics. The opening of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883 reshaped the socio-economic and architectural character of the two areas it connected, lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn waterfront (DUMBO) and Brooklyn Heights. By the 1830s, the neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights emerged as a residential enclave even before the invention of steam power ferries which made commuting to lower Manhattan reliable and inexpensive (Furman 73). Today, its charming brownstone lined streets are forever preserved through its status as a historic district.

This project uses archival research to document real estate price changes in Brooklyn Heights from 1850 to 1910, before and after the Brooklyn Bridge--a major infrastructure--was being constructed. Quantitative analysis of archival real estate listings from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn Public Library) provides a baseline that can be used to compare fluctuations in value of properties. This case study focuses on the block bounded by Poplar Street to the north, Hicks Street to the east, Middagh Street to the south and Poplar Street to the west. Property values are extrapolated from archival conveyances and documentation of property transfers from the Brooklyn Department of Finance. This research used property value change data to analyze neighborhood change.


This poster was presented as the 28th Semi-Annual Honors and Undergraduate Research Scholars Poster Presentation at New York City College of Technology, May 2, 2018. Faculty mentors: Monica Berger (Library), Barbara Mishara, Alexander Aptekar (Architectural Technology).