Historically community-based organizations have lacked access to the information necessary to effectively "make the case" for issues they care about. As a result, these groups have been limited in their ability to convey conditions on the ground, as well as measure and track impact over time.
In recent years, there has been a national effort to combat this obstacle, with local organizations and intermediaries partnering with universities, think tanks and research houses to make information more readily available and accessible. As part of this, those engaged in social justice work have come to embrace community mapping. Through the use of geographic information system (GIS) technology local groups are able to link information to maps and therefore tell a story about how issues distribute across space and time. Several metro regions around the country including Denver, Portland and Boston have created comprehensive regional mapping projects or atlases, which have in turn been used to bolster pre-existing movements and foster new ones.
Now, Partnership for Southern Equity is bringing the concept to the South with the Metro Atlanta Equity Atlas (MAEA). The purpose of the MAEA is to provide regional stakeholders with an up-to-date, easily accessible, data-rich resource capable of informing the larger debate on how to create a more fair and equitable region. In addition to providing a deep collection of maps, and robust analysis, the project will feature profiles of individuals and organizations working every day to make our communities safer, smarter, healthier and more well-connected.
Key topic areas to be covered in the MAEA include: 1) demographics, 2) economic development, 3) education, 4) environment, 5) health, 6) housing, 7) public safety, and 8) transportation.
The project is being executed through the work of the MAEA subcommittee, a group of committed local leaders who convene monthly to oversee its implementation. Partner organizations include:
Atlanta Regional Commission, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Emory University Office of University-Community Partnerships, Emory University Initiative for Race and Difference, Enterprise Community Partners, Federal Reserve Bank, Georgia Department of Public Health, Georgia Tech Community Affairs Office, Georgia Stand-Up, GSTAND, Latin American Association, Mercer University, Morehouse School of Medicine,Nexus Research Group and The Center for Working Families.
The actual mapping and data analysis is being conducted by a talented team of mapping specialists who bring the technical expertise necessary to make this project a success.
The implementation of the Metro Atlanta Equity Atlas is being made possible through the generous support of our funders. They include:
- NeighborWorks America, Southern District
- Department of Public Health, Office of Health Equity
- W.K. Kellogg Foundation
- Mercer University
Our partners include:
Atlanta Regional Commission, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Emory University Office of University-Community Partnerships, Emory University Initiative for Race and Difference, Enterprise Community Partners, Federal Reserve Bank, Georgia Department of Public Health, Georgia Tech Community Affairs Office, Georgia Stand-Up, GSTAND, Latin American Association, Mercer University, Morehouse School of Medicine, Nexus Research Group, The Center for Working Families
Summer County Community Engagement Forums
Between June 27, 2012 and July 12, 2012 PSE conducted 5 county engagement forums in Dekalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb and Clayton Counties. Residents along with representatives from community based organizations, faith-based institutions and other constituent groups were in attendance. Through a series of engaging table discussions, PSE obtained firsthand insight about not only the community opportunities, but also challenges impacting our Metro-Atlanta region.
The Metro Atlanta Equity Atlas (MAEA) Has Arrived!
The MAEA was unveiled on November 19, 2013 and is available for use by visiting www.atlantaequityatlas.com.