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"OneWay" To Subtract

Fact 1: In 2007 (and for the past two decades), the size of the five boroughs of New York City has been measured at 322 square miles of land.

Fact 2: Based on a 2008 survey requested by Mayor Bloomberg, the size of the five boroughs of New York City has now been adjusted and is measured at 304.8 square miles of land....no land was lost, rather a measurement error was corrected.

Tangent: Hearing about this adjustment, journalist Sam Roberts claimed that if this land existed, it could:

  • Provide room for 3.8 million more trees
  • Provide room for 1,400 more restaurants and 284 street vendors
  • Provide room for 185,000 houses and apartments, enough to provide homes for 457,000 people
  • Provide 164 years of landfill space for residential garbage
  • Provide 1.3 million parking spaces
  • Provide $45,200,000,000 in real estate value
Project: Come up with other examples of what that amount of land could have provided (i.e. The number of ballfields that could be built).

Question: The change in NYC acerage is equal what percent decrease? If that same percent decrease was to happen for your city of county, how much land would be "lost" due to a measurement error? And, ala Sam Roberts' "what if?", what could that land be used for?

Source: Sam Roberts' "Measured Precisely, It's Still a Big City..." New York Times, May 22, 2008