Posted by: kbvale | August 3, 2009

Ground-Breaking Community Mapping Workshops Held

By Kendra Bridges

On May 14 and 21, members of two south Sacramento communities joined staff from the Coalition On Regional Equity, the UC Davis Center for Regional Change, Legal Services of Northern California, and Sacramento Mutual Housing Association to discuss the state of their communities. The workshops were held in the Avondale / Glen Elder neighborhood at Max Baer Park, and in the Lemon Hill neighborhood at Sacramento Mutual Housing Association’s Lemon Hill Estates.

During the workshops, community members discussed issues related to the health of their communities, including access to health care, transportation, safe and decent housing, and other issues that help build a quality living environment. Lively discussions took place at both events. Participants identified assets in their communities, and things they would like to see changed. They spoke about their personal habits in the neighborhood, how they got to frequent destinations, and what services they used locally. All had something to say about what they would like to see improved in their communities.

The information gathered from the community members of Avondale / Glen Elder and Lemon Hill will be made into maps of community knowledge. These maps will be presented to the communities in future meetings, and will be used to begin a discussion of next steps. Ultimately, the data created in these mapping workshops will be used to support advocacy for change in these neighborhoods.

These workshops are part of a project called SCORECARD, or Sacramento Coalition on Regional Equity Collaborative Assessment of Regional Development, which is a collaborative between the Coalition on Regional Equity and the UC Davis Center for Regional Change. The SCORECARD will serve as a vital resource for advocacy, organizing, and building a critically-informed people’s movement for regional equity and health. It enhances the ability of populations typically marginalized in regional planning efforts (such as immigrants, low-income people, communities of color, youth) to have their visions seen and heard by regional policy makers.

The goal of the SCORECARD is to provide a tool to empower and engage community partners to assess development and advocate for change in the region at multiple scales, from the neighborhood, to the municipality, to the county, to the full region. It will involve a dynamic process that links community involvement with cutting-edge mapping and geographic information systems (GIS) technology.

Much of the data for the SCORECARD will come from secondary data sources to allow for consistency across the region over time. But it will also include data garnered through collaborative public participatory GIS (PPGIS) system that reflects residents own knowledge of their neighborhoods. This PPGIS system will be developed through conducting workshops such as those held in May that are novel in the non-profit, community development, and social empowerment fields. It will capture local data by conducting mapping workshops where community members will have an opportunity to participate in hands-on mapping of information they feel is relevant to their community’s well-being.

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