"Finding Place in Community Change Initiatives: Using GIS to Uncover Resident Perceptions of their Neighborhoods," by Claudia Coulton, and Tsui Chan of the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development, and Kristen Mikelbank of the Cleveland Food Bank, has been published by the Journal of Community Practice, released March 4, 2011.
The growing recognition that place matters has led to numerous foundation- and government-sponsored initiatives that attempt to simultaneously strengthen neighborhoods and address the needs of families that live there.
Despite the centrality of the concept of neighborhood, these place-based initiatives have few tools to understand how residents identify with the space within their target areas.
This article demonstrates how resident-drawn maps gathered in a household survey can be used to uncover individual and collective neighborhood definitions.
Using data gathered as part of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Making Connections program in 10 cities, the study finds that there is considerable variation among residents in how they define their neighborhoods, but that there are also commonly held neighborhood identities that need to be taken into account in community practice.