Monday, April 26, 2021

Chicago a divided city - WBEZ maps

Today the US Census announced that Illinois will lose one Congressional seat as a result of declining population in Illinois and growth in a few other states.  As I  thought about this I saw an article on the WBEZ website, showing maps created by the Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

 Whereas in 1970 there were large middle class neighborhoods in the North, SW and South sides of Chicago, not the city seems starkly divided between wealth and very low income.  

While the low income area grew dramatically this does not mean the population of poor people grew. African American population within Chicago has been declining for decades. This 2019 UIC Great Cities Institute report states that "Since a peak measured in 1980, Chicago’s Black population has declined steadily from 1,187,905 in 1980 to 797,253 in 2017, a decrease of 390,652 or 32.9%."  

This 2018 article provides more information about the migration of Blacks out of Chicago, to the suburbs, other cities in Illinois, and out of state, perhaps to some of those states gaining Congressional seats. It includes a quote saying, "Experts from the Urban Institute predict that by 2030, Chicago’s African-American population will shrink to 665,000 from a post-war high of roughly 1.2 million."  

That leaves behind those who are very poor and those who are very affluent.  

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Chicago Philanthropic Initiative Using Maps

If you skim through articles on this blog you'll see that I've piloted uses of maps to guide the distribution of resources to youth programs in high poverty areas of Chicago  since 1993.

The Tweet posted below points to a WBEZ article pointing to The Mapping COVID-19 Recovery Project, a collaborative effort of 25 major Chicago foundations, nonprofit organizations, and public and private groups.

WBEZ is doing some outstanding mapping. It's an example of what's possible if you have the talent and dollars needed to create the maps and share them via various media channels.  I encourage you to read the report, visit the Recovery Project website, then help draw attention to the places where the maps show people need extra help.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Map resource for redistricting in 2021

 Every 10  years state political district maps are re drawn, based on the new Census information. Across the country Democratic and Republican party leaders try to "gerrymander" the maps to favor one party or another.

This platform provides maps for every state, showing maps favoring one party or the other, plus an recommended "fair map". 

Use the search bar under the map to find your state, then to see the three versions of the map. Which will your state choose? 

Friday, February 12, 2021

TIF Districts in Chicago

 I use this blog to show ways GIS maps can be used to share information and to provide resources that people can use to tell stories showing where people need help.  Below is a screen shot from Chicago's Interactive TIF Data Map.

The website shows that "Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is a special funding tool used by the City of Chicago to promote public and private investment across the city. Funds are used to build and repair roads and infrastructure, clean polluted land and put vacant properties back to productive use, usually in conjunction with private development projects."

The red and yellow dots on the map show infrastructure projects (yellow) and redevelopment projects (red).  You can turn on or off layers showing community area boundaries, planning regions and wards. You can click on any of the red or yellow dots to find information about that project.   You can zoom into the map down to the neighborhood level.  

Note: one of the most vocal critics of the TIF program is Tom Tresser, who I met via the Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conferences in the 1990s.  Here's a site where you can learn about Tom's concerns.   Frankly, I'd love to see a TIF map where there was a third set of dots, representing non-school youth tutor, mentor and learning programs funded with TIF dollars.  That would support the campaign I've led through the Tutor/Mentor Connection (1993-present) and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC (2011-present)  for the past 28 years.

At the left is a screen shot of the Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator which my organization built in 2008 to share information about Chicago youth tutor, mentor and learning programs.  The site has not been updated since 2011 but remains a model for what needs to be created to help mentor-rich youth programs grow and thrive in every high poverty area of the city.

The TIF map is an example of the type of platform that could be developed in a new version of the Program Locator.  Something like this could be developed in any city of the world and shared via open source to every other city.  If you recognize the need for this in your city, or want to  help rebuild the Program Locator, and Tutor/Mentor Connection 4-part strategy, for Chicago, please reach out to me.

You can connect with me on any of these social media platforms

Monday, February 8, 2021

Census Map Shows Home Town of Superbowl Players

 I've pointed to the US Census Bureau in past articles to show how their maps can be used to create map-stories. I was reminded of this capacity when a friend emailed me this map showing home towns of players in the 2021 Super Bowl.

You can find this map here

Are you using the Census Bureau platform to create map stories that draw attention to the needs of youth and families in high poverty areas of the USA?  Share links to your stories in the comments.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Exploring Neighborhood Change. Exploring Big Oil to Big Energy

Below I'm sharing two mapping platforms that I've discovered recently.  They both are interactive, meaning you can add or subtract layers, zoom into neighborhoods, and find useful information.

In both of these the description I'm providing comes directly from the website.

"The National Trust for Historic Preservation developed the Exploring Neighborhood Change mapping series for 10 cities as a part of an initiative of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. The mapping series is designed to complement a written report entitled Preserving African American Places: Growing Preservation’s Potential as a Path for Equity, which explores the historical and present day context of African American neighborhoods to develop effective preservation-based strategies that promote justice, inclusion, and equity in our movement today."

The view I'm showing is Chicago. Visit this page to choose from nine other cities. I've added a layer showing colleges and universities. You can turn on or off different types of demographic information. 

The second map, shown below, is a resource created by Time To Change / Just Transition. The introduction from the website says "Together, map and website form a geographic information system. Its aim is to provide swift and trustworthy access to geolocated knowledge about the North American energy landscape. Publicly available data, compiled by government agencies and civil-society organizations, has been collated into three thematic sections, covering the oil & gas industry, coal and its devastating environmental consequences, and emergent electric power production based on renewables."

This platform has three maps for  a) oil and gas; b) coal and ash; c) wind and sun energy categories. The one I'm featuring shows oil and gas pipelines in North America. There's also a global version. 

As you zoom in on this map extra layers of information are provided. The blue circles are videos embedded on the map.  There's an icon for refineries. There's an icon for accidents. Click on any of these and a pop-up will provide identifying and explanatory information.

As I discover new resources such as this I've been adding them to the Tutor/Mentor web library and/or to a blog article about the climate crisis.  Below is a Tweet pointing to the new additions I made to that article. 
These show just two platforms sharing useful information via Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Scroll through articles on this blog back to 2008 and you'll find many more.

Below you can see how I've copied a map view from a mapping platform, then pasted it into Power Point, where I added a screen shot from a local news story about a shooting in Chicago, that took place in the area I've highlighted on the map.  I've been doing this since 1994 to try to draw attention and resources into high poverty areas of Chicago to support volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs.

Just building the mapping platform is not enough if the purpose is that the information is used to solve a problem.  You need a strategy that turns map views into on-going stories that draw attention to the problem and draw people together to innovate solutions, then actions that over time will solve the problem, or at least reduce it.

On the Tutor/Mentor blog I've three sections with articles using maps (look at tags on left side of the blog). Read some of these and then create your own articles, from the resources above or from other GIS  platforms.  

Once you've done this share your stories on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and/or Linkedin. I'm in all of these places (find my social media links here).  I look forward to seeing how others use these map platforms. 

Thanks for reading.