Who defines your neighborhood boundaries? Lizzie MacWillie, senior design manager at buildingcommunityWORKSHOP, says very often it’s the wrong people:
Three times already this year, local news stations have incorrectly identified a particular Dallas neighborhood, Pleasant Grove, as the scene of violent crimes that actually occurred in other neighborhoods. This is one of several reasons I’ve spent the last year asking Dallas residents to draw maps of their neighborhoods. The effort, launched two years ago by the nonprofit where I work, mirrors similar initiatives across the country, in cities including New York, Chicago and Portland. By crowdsourcing neighborhood boundaries, residents can put themselves on the map in critical ways.
She argues that residents should take control of the “narrative” of their neighborhood, starting with its physical boundaries:
When a map is made, whoever is making it decides what’s in and what’s out. Those decisions can have real consequences. It should be experts making those decisions — and what better neighborhood experts than local residents themselves.
You can read the full op-ed at Next City here.
Contributor: Ben Peterson, Pepperdine School of Public Policy Alumnus, MPP ’16.