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  • Sharrow Assignment 6

Sally Sharrow


Assignment 6: Project Description

Opportunity Mapping in Cincinnati, OH

  1. The Project : My aim is to follow the methodology developed by the Kirwan Institute to create a map of opportunity in the Greater Cincinnati area.  The Kirwan Institute’s method explores how opportunity (in terms of education, employment, health, and more) can be geographically determined within a city.  My analysis will focus especially on opportunity in terms of transit access, access to green space, and opportunity in terms of environmental effects (such as proximity to brownfields and access to open space).  This will be analyzed in terms of race, income, and citizenship status. 
  2. Similar analyses :
    1. Starck, Emily.  “Opportunity Mapping Process Study in Philadelphia County.” Intro to GIS, Tufts University, Fall 2010.
      1. Emily did a similar project last semester, applying the Opportunity Mapping methodology to Philadelphia.  Her paper was helpful in pointing out the difficulties of this type of analysis and suggestions on what worked well and what didn’t.
    2. powell, john; Reece, Jason; and Gambhir, Samir.  “The Geography of Opportunity: Review of Opportunity Mapping Research Initiatives.” July 2008, The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, The Ohio State University.
      1. This overview of the Kirwan Institute’s work was a useful introduction to the concept.  It helped me start to think about what indicators to use, and to visualize what my final maps might look like.  It also provides examples of a large range of studies, all concerning issues of opportunity particular to distinct parts of the country.
    3. Gambhir, Samir.  “Introduction to Opportunity Mapping.”  Opportunity Mapping Workshop.  The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, The Ohio State University, November 2007. 
      1. This power point presentation goes into the specifics of how to do opportunity mapping.  It includes useful information about what data is available and from where; how to calculate scores and opportunity indices;

and explores some of the particular tools to be used in ArcMap.

  1. Lukehart, John; Luce, Tom; and Reece, Jason.“The Segregation of Opportunities: The Structure of Advantage and Disadvantage in the Chicago Region.”  May 2005, The Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities.
    1. This is an opportunity mapping project specifically about race and housing opportunity in Chicago.  They analyzed 25 variables in 4 categories: Fiscal, Transportation/Jobs, Quality of Life, and Schools (pg 6).  Opportunity is classified into quintiles.  One interesting part of the study is a comparison between particular communities; they selected one community from each quintile and assessed opportunity in relation to racial and economic diversity as well as affordable housing.  I would like to do a similar analysis of communities in Cincinnati, perhaps comparing factors such as green space and pollution which relate to environmental justice.  There is a useful appendix on how exactly the opportunity index is calculated, which will help guide my project.
  2. powell, john; Reece, Jason; and Gambhir, Samir.  “The Geography of Opportunity: Austin Region.”  The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, The Ohio State University.
    1. This report provides a useful introduction to the concept of opportunity mapping, what it is and why it’s done.  It adds additional factors to the list of possibilities for analysis, classifying them into 5 categories: Education, Economic, Mobility and Transportation, Health and environment, and Neighborhood Quality.  Maps were made for each category as well as an aggregate one; additional analysis was done concerning both children and race in terms of opportunity.  Detailed appendices discuss each opportunity indicator and the weighted value given to each, which will be helpful in compiling the list of indicators I wish to use.
  3. Coalition for a Livable Future.  “Regional Equity Atlas: Metropolitan Portland’s Geography of Opportunity.” 2007.
    1. The Equity Atlas includes a huge number of maps mapping different variables and equity issues.  The maps on this website provide an idea of what my final maps might look like, and the many particular issues which I could focus on.  Specifically I might focus on issues of transportation and transit access, about which there is an entire chapter and collection of maps.
  1. Methodology :
    1. My methodology will be based upon that described by the Kirwan Institute in their power-point presentation. The steps are:
      1. Identifying and selecting Opportunity Indicators
      2. Identifying data sources
      3. Compiling data matrix of indicators to analyze effect on opportunity
      4. Calculating z scores (based upon standard deviation from the mean score)
      5. Averaging scores and placing areas into quintiles (which can then be mapped).  One thing to consider in this step is the weighting of certain scores.
    2. Possible indicators
      1. Education/Schools
        1. School Poverty
        2. Teacher Experience
        3. Student/Teacher Ratio
        4. Math and Reading Scores
        5. Student Retention
        6. Average ACT score
        7. Graduation rate
        8. Limited English proficiency rate
        9. Mobility rate
        10.                      Truancy rate
        11.                      Day care slots
        12.                      Percentage of population school age
      2. Economic/Fiscal/Employment
        1. Unemployment
        2. Dependence upon Public Assistance
        3. Proximity to Employment
        4. Ratio of Jobs to Residents
        5. Job Growth Trends
        6. Jobs within 10 miles
        7. Change in jobs within 10 miles
        8. Jobs within municipality/household
        9. Property and sales tax capacity
        10.                      Change in tax capacity
        11.                      Percentage population over 65
      3. Mobility and transportation
        1. Commute time
        2. Access to public transit stops
        3. Frequency of public transit service (transportation efficiency)
      4. Health and Environment
        1. Low birth rate percentage
        2. Cases of asthma/hypertension per capita
        3. Park land/capita
        4. Polluted sites/capita
        5. Proximity to toxic waste
        6. Access to grocery stores
        7. Proximity to health care facilities
        8. Insurance access
      5. Quality of Life/Neighborhood Quality
        1. Voter participation rate
        2. Housing value change
        3. Violent crimes/capita
        4. Non-violent crimes /capita
        5. Neighborhood poverty rates
        6. Housing vacancy rates
        7. Home ownership
        8. Home values
        9. Median income
        10.                      Housing units—median year built
    3. The selection of indicators will depend heavily upon my ability to find and access data, and upon the specific categories I choose to focus on in Cincinnati.
  2. Data Sources






School districts

Unknown—school board?  Kirwan did an Education study for Ohio, so look into where they got their data

1 mile

Test scores, graduation rates, truancy rates

Census block group

School poverty, teacher efficiency

Census block group

English Proficiency, School age population, educational attainment

American Communities Survey/Census 2000

Census block group


Unemployment, tax capacity, population age, public assistance

Census 200 SF3, American Communities Survey

Census block group

Job availability, jobs within 10 miles


Census block group


Bus routes and stops, proximity to bus stops, frequency of transit

CAGIS  or SORTA—information is available, waiting to see if I can get it for free

25 ft

Commute time and mode, car ownership

Census 2000 SF3/American Communities Survey

Census block group

Health and Environment

Birth rates, asthma rates


Census block group

toxic facilities, brownfields


25 ft

Open space


25 ft

Grocery stores, hospitals and healthcare facilities

Reference USA (geocoded)

10 ft

Quality of Life

Housing unit age, housing unit value, housing density, home ownership, housing vacancypoverty rate, affordable housing

Census 2000 SF3/American Communities Survey

Census block group

Crime rates


Census clock group


Race, median income, citizenship/nationality

Census 2000 SF3/American Communities Survey

Census tract