Monday, November 9, 2009

Atlas of Anchorage Community Indicators released

The Atlas of Anchorage Community Indicators is an online collection of maps reflecting survey and census data for the Municipality of Anchorage. The intent of the Atlas is to make empirical information about Anchorage neighborhoods widely accessible to many different audiences. Our selection of indicators for presentation in the Atlas was inspired by Peter Blau and his interest in measures of heterogeneity (diversity) and inequality and by the work of the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods. In these prior works, variables known as Community Indicators were theorized to educate and inform researchers about the cause and context of neighborhoods in the development of criminals. These indicators can be measured in various ways, typically through surveys or by mining existing census data.

By leveraging Geographic Information Systems methods and technology and using survey data, the Justice Center has been able to illustrate the distribution of these variables (by 2000 U.S. Census block group) throughout the Municipality of Anchorage. This will allow the audience to see patterns of distribution, and raises important questions about the spatial distribution of variables like Concentrated Disadvantage (a measure of relative neighborhood poverty) and Residential Stability (theorized to promote the evolution of common values). Ideally, this information will educate community councils, sociologists, and other stakeholders about the composition of Anchorage neighborhoods and the possible ramifications of that composition, and assist in policy making.