In January 2016, the White House Presidential Innovation Fellows invited Community Commons (IP3) to join the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Census Bureau, the White House, Presidential Innovation Fellows, and other industry groups in an effort to build tools that support increased access to opportunity in communities.

In the U.S., geography can frequently determine opportunity.  With new data and innovative mapping tools emerging, however, someone’s zip code no longer has to determine their destiny. So when the White House Presidential Innovation Fellows program invited Community Commons to take on the challenge of creating an opportunity data tool for communities, the Commons was more than eager to get started.

As one of twelve groups selected from around the country, Community Commons began participating in a 6 week software development sprint to take new, previously unreleased data from Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and develop tools that communities can use to help increase opportunities for families.

“Community Commons has experienced tremendous growth over the past several years. We look forward to continuing to provide free and accessible data and tools for communities that can help identify their areas of greatest opportunity,” said Roxanne Medina-Fulcher, JD, Executive Director of IP3.

The Opportunity Project provides developers, entrepreneurs, policy makers, and change agents with data that helps them create the most meaningful change. For communities, Opportunity Project tools empower families and organizations by providing them with community level data that can help them make informed decisions as they move closer to valuable opportunities and thriving places to live.

Community Commons used existing datasets and new HUD data to see how new data layers could be used to explore the areas of greatest opportunity. With new and existing information, Community Commons, in partnership with the Center for Applied Research and Environmental Systems (CARES), built the Location Opportunity Footprint Tool (LOFT). Designed for neighborhood leaders, the tool allows users to find areas with an intersection of proficient schools, job opportunity, and low housing and transportation costs to identify areas of opportunity. These areas, or opportunity footprints, can be customized based on the priority placed on of each of those factors. Once complete, the footprints can be saved, printed, shared, and viewed alongside many hundreds of additional data layers to add context and understanding.

LOFT Screenshot

Community Commons’ Commitment to Creating Equitable Communities

Building on decades of experience from its founders, Community Commons has remained dedicated to using data, tools, and stories to increase the impact of those working toward healthy, equitable, and sustainable communities. We believe this happens when Commons users access our tools to gain a deeper understanding of community assets and opportunities and then use data visualizations to convey that knowledge through partnerships and collaboration.

Community Commons is proud to commit to the White House’s long-term goals of providing the kinds of opportunity tools needed for community development. Specifically, Community Commons commits to the White House’s primary goals of:

  • Continuing to help families, community, leaders, non-profits, local officials, and the media navigate information about neighborhood-level opportunities.
      • The Commons commits to continuing to provide free access to neighborhood level data through our reporting and mapping tools.
  • Supporting a new phase of how the federal government acts as a steward of our own data by curating combinations of datasets that paint a comprehensive picture of key challenges for communities, making that data more accessible, and encouraging collaborations between local leaders, technologists, non-profits, and community members to leverage technology and data to co-create tailored, highly relevant tools
    • The Commons will continue to engage with new technology partners who value free-to-use data and tools that help communities address health improvement and equity. Most recently, Community Commons partnered with 100 Million Healthier Lives on the “Mapping the Movement” tool that provides free, up-to-date information about the programs, services and people working in every state and around the world to improve lives and health outcomes by 2020 and beyond.

“Community Commons is honored to be a part of this new effort that engages partners in supporting and creating positive change in communities across the nation,” said Medina-Fulcher.

To watch the White House presentation, click here to watch. Community Commons begins at the 1:32:10 mark.

Look for an upcoming feature and webinar about the LOFT tool, and announcements about where to find this new data in the Commons.


Source: Community Commons
March 7, 2016