Building Communities of Opportunity

Kirwan is a national leader in work that promotes equitable planning and development policy. The Institute will continue to provide direct technical assistance to communities that seek to implement equitable revitalization strategies in segregated, high poverty neighborhoods through targeted investment and robust community engagement.

Supporting Opportunity/Asset Mapping & Data Driven Equity Initiatives

As a national leader in using data-driven tools and mapping to guide equity efforts, Kirwan actively supports data-informed equity and engagement initiatives in regions and municipalities located across the nation. This ongoing capacity building work is essential to creating Opportunity Communities, and the Institute will continue to partner with peer data and mapping organizations to promote this field development.

Opportunity Mapping

As the pioneer research institute in Opportunity Mapping, The Kirwan Institute is an industry leader in opportunity and equity mapping analysis.  Using an asset-based approach, The Kirwan Institute defines Opportunity as a set of external conditions that support individuals and communities to be more likely to succeed or excel. By visualizing data points and statistics through mapping technology, Kirwan strives to contextualize community ecosystems and tell a story with data that is easier for practitioners and their constituents to relate to and enable deeper understanding.

Opportunity is a product historic and contemporary policy decisions.  These policy decisions, either intentionally or unintentionally, are often crafted to benefit certain groups while disadvantaging others.  As such, Kirwan finds that modern community boundaries and associated levels of Opportunity are reflections of these inequitably designed and implemented policies resulting in segregated and stratified regions across the United States.  Kirwan’s Opportunity Mapping aims to identify community assets enabling decision makers to build upon community strengths to confront these inequities through sustained investment in people and neighborhoods. 

The Kirwan Institute has partnered with municipalities and government agencies to affect positive change in community health and Opportunity development.  Partners such the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA), Diversity Data Kids, and the cities of Tacoma and Seattle, WA (among many others) have leveraged our community-engaged methods.   Each collaboration is designed to leverage local resources and knowledge in a site-specific model to further develop economic inclusion, social equity and civic engagement.  

Opportunity Mapping is a research tool that we incorporate across our initiatives addressing inequity in variety of domains including housing, wealth, health, education, or criminal justice. And when your organization is ready to move forward on improving opportunity and advancement for each and every constituent, our team at The Kirwan Institute will be here to assist.  For more information, or to find out how your organization can partner with Kirwan’s Opportunity Mapping framework, please contact Dr. Andrew Miller.