Why Opportunity Mapping?
The Geography of Opportunity is a well-recognized topic in the social sciences, which holds that the neighborhood in which you live—and in particular, the neighborhood in which you grow up—has a profound impact on your life chances and future success. Put differently, neighborhoods matter. They impact the quality of your education and local public services, your access to jobs and employment opportunities, the types of people with whom you interact, and the levels of pollution, toxicity and disease to which you may be exposed.
To better understand the Geography of Opportunity, and how it differs from place to place, it is a helpful exercise to collect measures like access to jobs or the quality of public schools and display them in maps. It’s also sometimes useful to combine these metrics into a single measure that can describe the overall opportunity landscape. This technique, known as opportunity mapping, has been used increasingly to support Fair Housing requirements and support regional planning efforts.
NCSG Opportunity Mapping
Drawing from the latest research on neighborhood effects, the NCSG has developed a series of opportunity maps for the Baltimore region, supported by a HUD Sustainable Communities grant (project info | select maps).
Despite volumes of research, however, determining the correct variables that should be used to quantify spatial opportunity remains a significant challenge—in part because no single definition of “opportunity” exists! For this reason, the NCSG has partnered with Facet Decision Systems and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development to develop an interactive tool that allows visitors to create their own opportunity maps by selecting and weighting spatial variables of their choosing. The tool is available here.
Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development
Reclassification of Sustainable Neighborhoods: An Opportunity Indicator Analysis in Baltimore Metropolitan Area
Regional Opportunity Mapping: The Key to Changing the Rules of the Game
Mapping Opportunity: A Critical Assessment