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BERKELEY, CA: Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley and the California Housing Partnership have released a new online, interactive map of California on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 to help inform the policy discussions about zoning reform currently underway in the state. The mapping tool provides data and evidence-based framing around the types of neighborhood characteristics policymakers should consider to ensure zoning reform encourages more housing production in areas of opportunity, and does so in ways that could make the state more inclusive and help meet environmental goals by reducing commute distances.

The maps were created as a collaboration between the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, the Terner Center for Housing Innovation and the Urban Displacement Project at the University of California, Berkeley, and the California Housing Partnership. This project was made possible by the generous support of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Drawing on wide-ranging outreach to stakeholders, equity advocates, and academic experts and established research, the partners created the 2019 California Neighborhood Opportunity Maps to:

● Identify high-opportunity California neighborhoods based on place-based indicators strongly associated with upward mobility and other positive outcomes.
● Identify high-opportunity areas near plentiful jobs opportunities, or in areas with jobs-housing imbalances or longer-than-typical commutes, where denser housing production could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by helping to shorten commute distances and reduce vehicle miles traveled.

Recognizing that different zoning reform efforts may prioritize policy goals in different ways, the interactive map allows users to map five scenarios. The scenarios test whether a tract meets the “high-opportunity” criteria, and test its overlap with various jobs measures.

However, it is important to note that these maps only address one key element of the current zoning reform debate. Understanding how zoning reform could affect communities vulnerable to displacement or could be effectively calibrated to ensure inclusionary components is also essential to reform efforts. Each of those elements require their own dedicated process, grounded in research, stakeholder input, and community engagement, the outcomes of which should influence or supersede the selection strategies explored in the opportunity mapping tool.

Many high-opportunity areas have been closed to people seeking social and economic upward mobility, particularly people of color. The partner organizations are hopeful that this map, and the methodology that informs it, can help inform policy efforts, like zoning reform, that could allow all of California’s residents to enjoy the opportunities currently only afforded to some.

Online Map Website: http://mappingopportunityca.org/

Methodology: http://mappingopportunityca.org/data/Full_Documentation-MappingOpportun…

If you have any questions about the maps or are interested in speaking with the researchers, please contact Cora Johnson-Grau, Terner Center for Housing Innovation at cjohnsongrau@berkeley.edu or (510) 859 7073.