By: Jay Derderian
Neighborhood Association projects that focus on increasing access to essential resources and advancing the well-being of their community should greatly benefit from using the Regional Equity Atlas 2.0 mapping tools. The Atlas provides maps and data that illuminate disparities, which can assist Neighborhood Associations tell their story and showcase the importance of their projects. Additionally, the Atlas can provide the data and visual support needed to obtain financial and political support as a way of moving a project forward.
Founded in 1994 by an eclectic and wide-reaching group of Portland-area civic organizations, the Coalition for a Livable Future (CLF) was created to facilitate collaboration among community organizations that would not normally work together.
The Regional Equity Atlas 2.0 project is one of the crowning jewels of the CLF. The Atlas harnesses the power of maps to reveal patterns and relationships that can be difficult to see from data alone. It allows the user to compare and contrast data across the region; to see areas in relationship to one another; and to layer various indicators to determine how they relate to one another. The mapping tool holds over 125 layers of data that explore the intersection between different demographic indicators such as income and race, and a range of key outcomes such as access to food, health care, transportation, and parks. The resulting maps enable stakeholders to identify structural disparities and provide insights into how one can promote greater equity.
On a more local level, the Equity Atlas can assist neighborhood associations with gaining a stronger understanding of their area’s demographic makeup as well as the equity issues that their residents might be facing. This will help neighborhood associations in creating targeted outreach efforts to increase involvement from their communities.
The following is a short guide to how one might obtain specific regional data and how this data can be used to better inform neighborhood outreach efforts.
To begin accessing the maps, open your web browser and type in the URL www.clfuture.org/equityatlas. This will bring you to the Atlas’ main page. Now you can begin accessing the data.
Let’s say you wanted to create an outreach campaign aimed at helping increase the voter turn-out in your area. You could use the Equity Atlas to find the number of registered voters in your neighborhood as well as the numbers that went to the polls in the last few elections and then compare that data with data from other areas.