Why Create an Equity Atlas?

Equity atlas projects can transform communities and advance long-lasting change in a variety of ways:

  • Build a commitment to equity: By providing a visual depiction of disparities and demonstrating the impact of these disparities on the community’s overall health and prosperity, equity atlases foster a shared commitment to equity.
  • Shape policy, planning, and investments: Equity atlases drive decision-making by showing where investments need to be prioritized to ensure that everyone is able to thrive, and by providing insights into how to expand access to opportunity through changes in planning and policy.
  • Connect diverse stakeholders: By demonstrating the interconnections between different issues, populations, and geographic areas, equity atlases bring together diverse stakeholders to work together towards common goals.
  • Facilitate dialogue: Equity atlases provide a centralized repository of data and consistent measurements that create a shared language for discussing community conditions and priorities. 
  • Democratize access to data: By presenting data visually rather than through dense text or tables, equity atlases make high-quality data available in an accessible format to a wide range of users.
  • Empower communities: By helping communities shine a spotlight on the challenges they face and providing data to help inform potential solutions, equity atlases can support community-driven policy change.
  • Support diverse organizations: Equity atlases can support advocacy organizations with campaigns; nonprofits with fundraising and program design; businesses and service providers with location decisions; governments with policy, planning, and budget decisions; and foundations with setting priorities.
  • Promote regionalism: Equity atlases support a regional approach to planning and highlight opportunities for regional collaboration around shared priorities.
  • Track success: Equity atlases can be used to provide a baseline for measuring current conditions and can help communities benchmark and evaluate their progress in expanding access to opportunity over time.