HEC has partnered with researchers at the Indiana University’s Fairbanks School of Public Health and The Polis Center to map data on the environmental burden in Indianapolis and where it overlaps with low income and minority neighborhoods. These maps bring together environmental indicators with data on race, income and gentrification in a way that HEC is using to inform discussions on improving equity in Indianapolis’ urban environment.
Mapping Vulnerable Communities
Overburdened communities were mapped using an environmental justice mapping tool, Multi-Layer Data Community Action Tool (MDCAT). Created by the Healthy Environment and Community Partnership (HECAP) team at the Fairbanks School of Public Health, MDCAT assesses environmental and social risk factors within Marion County. View additional MDCAT data maps on environmental risk factors.
Community Informatics researchers at The Polis Center mapped socio-economic indicators including household income, racial demographics and change in property values to help identify environmental justice neighborhoods. View a presentation on the intersection of environmental burden with the socio-economic factors within Marion County.
Overall Pollution Burden Within Marion County
The overall pollution burden within Marion County is mapped by census tracks. The index compares the census tracts to each other and shows them by percentile. The dark red tracts have the highest burden in the county (top 10%), while the purple tracts have the lowest (bottom 10%). Click the image to a larger map. Source: Wang, Y. & Smirat, J. (2016). Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health
Potential High Priority Environmental Justice Areas
Census tracks with the highest environmental burden and either minority or low-income were identified as potential high priority environmental justice areas. These tracks are highlighted in blue. Source: The Polis Center at Indiana University Purdue University – Indianapolis (2016)
Environmental Assets – Tree Cover and Park Space
Environmental assets like trees and park space mitigate the effects of pollution. The map compares the tree cover among the census tracts and shows them by percentile. The dark green census tracts have the densest tree cover with more trees than 80% to 99% of the other census tracts. Click the image to a larger map. Source: Wang, Y. & Smirat, J. (2016). Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health
Change in Assessed Property Values in Potential High Priority Environmental Justice Areas
A strong correlation exists between housing prices and pollution levels. Changes in housing values should be taken into account when identifying high priority environmental justice areas. Some heavily burdened neighborhoods are not necessarily potential high priority environmental justice areas, once the gentrification of historic “inner city” neighborhoods has been taken into consideration.
This explains why assessed values in some heavily burdened neighborhoods have increased 20% with others showing comparable declines in value. Negative changes are in red with the areas seeing the highest increases in dark green. Click the image to a larger map. Source: The Polis Center at Indiana University Purdue University – Indianapolis (2016)