The Living New Deal is recording the public works built under the New Deal across the entire United States and its territories. The inventory is made visible through a Google Map, a Google Fusion Table, lists by state and city, and individual State Pages. Since 2012, the database and map have been expanding by leaps and bounds, doubling from 2,500 sites in late 2012 to 5,000 sites by mid-2013, then hitting 7,500 sites by late 2014, 10,000 in mid-2015 and 11,000 in early 2016. At the same time, the Living New Deal website doubled its traffic (as tracked by Google) to over 250,000 per year by mid-2013 and doubled that again in 2014, and is running close to half a million per year in 2016.
Starting with New Deal California…
In our earliest days as a group of Berkeley volunteers, we began mapping New Deal San Francisco. Here’s how it started out way back in 2006:
Within a couple of years we had begun to be a real organization and had extended our work across the state as The California Living New Deal project, shown here c. 2008:
Mapping the New Deal Nation
As we reached ~1,000 sites in California, we decided to go national, a huge step forward. The map began to push eastward, but most of the country was still wide open spaces as seen in this view from 2011:
As we continued to gather data, the map had filled in enough to look respectable, if spotty, as shown here in November 2012:
In summer 2013 we merged the New Deal Art Registry into our database and the map began to look seriously freckled, as shown here in July 2013:
Picking Up Speed
By the end of 2013 we had mapped 5,000 New Deal public works sites and started to focus on filling in the ‘blank spots’, so that by April 2014, the map looked like this:
By August 2014 our map had passed 6,500 sites and was beginning to look solid across most of the country – plus sites in Hawaii, Alaska and the Canal Zone, not shown here:
By November 2014 we passed 8,000 New Deal project sites and the map was getting so packed that it has to be viewed at a higher zoom/resolution:
Passing a Major Milestone
In July 2015, we reached the 10,000 mark, a significant step upward that left the map looking fuller than ever. In addition, we could count over 100 sites in 40 states.
In April 2016, we vaulted over the 11,000 mark in sites mapped, leading us to consider converting from Google maps to a better framework for visual clarity and a better search function. Stay tuned!
The Living New Deal database continues to grow, as our national network of over 40 Research Associates send in new site data every week – so many, that our Research Assistants in Berkeley are always scrambling to keep up with the backlog!
Check out the current map here.
We are building a national network of associates in every state to contribute site data, publicize the wealth of public works left by the New Deal, and contribute to efforts at preservation of historic sites and artworks. If you would like to help us out, please Get Involved. To complete our work, we also need financial help from everyone who cares about preserving the New Deal legacy. Contact us if you or someone you know is interested in supporting the project, or make a donation here.