Analyze a Neighborhood with the Touch of a Button
October 6, 2017
Want to know what a neighborhood offers before you even get a chance to visit? With a new tool called Opportunity360, you can punch in an address and get an in-depth profile of the surrounding neighborhood, including:
- Housing stability (metrics like affordability and home ownership)
- Education (high school and college completion)
- Health and wellbeing (life expectancy, access to healthcare, etc.)
- Economic security (income levels, poverty, and employment)
- Mobility (access to transportation)
A project of affordable housing developer Enterprise Community Partners, the program is designed to help anyone with a stake in a neighborhood—from nonprofits, to government agencies, to developers and architects—identify stronger and weaker areas of opportunity for residents. By “opportunity,” the group means affordable access to housing, education, healthcare, employment, and transportation.
Given an address, the tool produces an “opportunity scorecard” covering these five basic indicators of opportunity, and comparing them to state and regional averages. A 20-plus-page “opportunity measurement report” provides a complete breakdown and narrative for each score.
“Design can play a pivotal role” in improving opportunity, according to Vrunda Vaghela, director at Enterprise Community Partners. “Opportunity360 provides a road map to understanding the factors driving a community’s potential to thrive, supporting practitioners in understanding the full context of a place so that they can be better informed to make smarter, more thoughtful design decisions.”
For example, project teams could identify a site for affordable housing by searching for neighborhoods with a strong need for it. Or if a site is already chosen, the team may discover a lack of affordable healthcare access and find ways to provide that within the building program.
To rate a neighborhood, Opportunity360 draws from a large number of public and proprietary databases. These include software tools that may already be familiar to building professionals, such as Walk Score, Streetwyze, and Boxwood Means, as well as data sources managed by federal government agencies.
Users can access the tool at www.enterprisecommunity.org/opportunity360.