Caitlin Dewey for OneZero describes the case of the Fruit Belt neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, or “Medical Park” as it was incorrectly named in Google Maps:
Lott learned that the issue had been festering for years, and she wanted answers. The 2,300 residents in the Fruit Belt didn’t refer to the community as “Medical Park,” but Google Maps had done so since the late 2000s. Community members argued the designation was a calculated tweak in favor of gentrification, a digital rechristening that would be used to sell houses, market Airbnbs, and wrest the neighborhood’s future from the people who had made a home there for generations.
Lott didn’t know it at the time, but the misnomer also revealed a great deal about the invisible process major tech firms use to put neighborhoods on their maps — and how decisions based off arcane data sets can affect communities thousands of miles away.