Impact of Equity Atlases

In communities across the country, equity atlases are influencing investment decisions and policy outcomes to expand access to opportunity. Leaders are using equity atlas maps and data to inform decisions such as where to locate new housing, transit, parks, social services, infrastructure, and other amenities to ensure that everyone in the community is able to thrive.

Portland’s Regional Equity Atlas showed that many low-income neighborhoods in the region have limited access to nature. The Coalition for a Livable Future used the equity atlas maps to successfully advocate for the creation of a multimillion-dollar grant program financed by voter-approved bonds. The program is now in its seventh year and has awarded $7.5 million to 27 projects that have expanded access to natural areas across the region.

The Denver Regional Equity Atlas has helped investors in the Transit-Oriented Development Fund identify sites near transit for affordable housing investments, highlight gaps in existing small business and neighborhood incentive programs, and promote the use of a healthy food financing fund for sites near transit stations that are within food deserts.

The Metropolitan Atlanta Equity Atlas illuminated historic inequities in the location of affordable housing and jobs and how this makes it difficult for low-income workers to access employment opportunities. Advocates are using the maps to push for strategies to expand economic opportunity for low-income workers by enabling them to live closer to the region’s jobs. 

In Los Angeles, the California Community Foundation has assembled a coalition that is using the Los Angeles Equity Atlas findings to ask City Council members and other elected officials to support inclusionary zoning laws, rent stabilization ordinances, and other regulations to prevent displacement and ensure existing housing remains affordable for low-income residents.