Online Equity Maps
To inform our work, guide our investments and work to achieve the citywide equity goals and strategies, the Office of Equity has created a simplified version of an Equity Atlas and Matrix, or equity ranking index and set of maps, that can be used to help rank many of our internal lists that relate to projects, programs and even procedures. This project has been created in collaboration with our Planning Department and with help from the GIS team at the Information and Technology Services Department.
The Equity Atlas is an interactive tool that highlights the demographics, disparities and some infrastructure distribution within the city. Maps relating to basic demographic indicators such as race, income and language are published in a standard format that includes consistent methodologies as it relates to breaking points, census tract data, and thresholds. It is critical to address all areas of marginalization, and an institutional approach is necessary across the board. As local and regional government deepens its ability to eliminate racial inequity, it will be better equipped to transform systems and institutions impacting other marginalized groups.
Using two demographic variables; race and income, we have designed a simplified Equity Matrix that focuses on breaking points above and below the citywide averages for those demographic variables. This essentially means that more points are assigned to a census block that has a higher than citywide average concentration of people of color and/or people below the average for median family income. The Equity Matrix is demonstrated in the maps as the “Overall Rank” tab.
Why Create an Equity Atlas
The Equity Atlas is one of the tools that city staff, community members, partners, and other decision makers can use to help ensure that they are making data-informed decisions that address disparities across a variety of indicators and improve access to opportunity for all San Antonio residents. In addition, we hope that the tool is used to help government and community partners make San Antonio a more inclusive and equitable city to live, learn, work and play.
Navigating the Maps
The maps can be zoomed in on and zoomed out, using your mouse or your keyboard. Similarly you can move the map around with your mouse or the keyboard arrows. To see exact street names start to zoom in on the area you are looking for information about. If you click on a specific area you can see more details about that area, including total population counts. There is also a + icon, a - icon and a search icon on near the top left hand side of the map, and if you want to search for a specific street or address you can type it into the search box once you click the search button.
Different layers and views can be toggled on and off by clicking on the “layers” icon, and different base map views can be toggled on and off by clicking the “maps” icon.
We have opted for the quintile system focusing on the middle variable indicating the citywide average. This means that a total value of up to 2 points can be assigned for the variables of race and income combined, for a maximum total value of 10.
The singular demographic middle value of 3 will reflect the citywide average for that data set, so for example if a project ranks a 3 in race, that means it is located in a neighborhood that is right at the citywide average percent population of people of color. We recognize that this data changes, and we have therefore created buffers on either end based on the natural break information in GIS and also require the use of the most current data available through the Census and ACS.
A quintile is a statistical value of a data set that represents 20% of a given population, so the first quintile represents the lowest fifth of the data (1-20%); the second quintile represents the second fifth (21% - 40%) and so on.
Other Equity Atlases
City of Portland, Oregon - In this example the maps are in a tab format, and users can look at different indicators and overlays. The quintile methodology allows for data to be more evenly distributed, and City decisions to be influenced by a scoring process that uses national best practice from Policy Link, the Government Alliance on Race and Equity, and the Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative.
City of Austin - These maps in scroll down format show a good example of the potential to add on additional overlays when new projects and partnerships are being explored with City Departments.
City of Louisville - This storymap illustrates and allows you to investigate some of the ways redlining and the HOLC have affected housing development, disinvestment, and lending patterns in Louisville, KY since the 1930s. Click on map to view the original HOLC assessments.
King County, Washington - Digital Equity/Access to High Speed Internet: Internet access to homes fosters community connectivity, economic and learning opportunity and quality of life improvements. In King County and most areas, internet speed can vary significantly depending on where you live and what you can afford.
Tacoma, Washington - The Equity Index is one of the primary tools that city staff, community members, partners, and other decision makers can use to help ensure that they are making data-informed decisions that address these indicators and improve access to opportunity for all Tacoma residents.
The Equity Index is an interactive tool that highlights the disparities within the City. The Index uses 20 data points to determine where people are not able to access services or where services do not meet the community needs. In addition, the Index is a tool to help city and community partners make Tacoma an inclusive and equitable City to live, learn, work and play.