In 2019, I took part in a walking tour of Little Syria, a neighborhood located in the vicinities of modern-day Tribeca and The Financial District. Having spent many years of my life on Manhattan's Lower West Side, I was shocked to learn of the existence of a former Arab neighborhood razed for the construction of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and WTC complex. Although awareness of local history affects our communities and our relations with residents, many individuals remain apathetic towards studying history. Through data-driven design, we can illuminate stories from the past and help individuals visualize history as real things that happened to real people.
After data cleaning and analysis, I figuratively constructed the fabric of the neighborhood through data visualization. At the height of its success, there were approximately 174 businesses within the boundaries of Little Syria. Through data visualization, I created a lace-like web that represents the interconnected nature of the former enclave while paying homage to Arab lace-making traditions. To help individuals learn about specific businesses within former Little Syria, I designed a digital platform that lets individuals study local history in an engaging, interactive way. Immersive AR exhibitions present primary sources through an immersive and engaging format, and the ability to customize and share digital postcards can help modern users embrace local history and see it as a fun, relevant subject that extends beyond the classroom setting.