Data You Can Use


Tag: asset mapping

The 1st full calendar year of Data You Can Use!

Although our nonprofit status was officially granted in May of 2016, 2017 was the first full calendar year for Data You Can Use.  We’d like to share a timeline of our highlights with you.  These events, milestones and projects are just a sampling of the work we did and the partners we collaborated with last year.

January: Release of first set of Neighborhood Strategic Planning Area reports

Data portraits for nine Neighborhood Strategic Planning (NSP) Areas were released in January 2017.  The portraits were designed with input and involvement from NSP coordinators, in partnership with the Nonprofit Center.  The data included was useful for several purposes, including planning, organizing and fund development.  Since that release, similar portraits were requested by neighborhood- focused agencies and foundations.  Now our website hosts twenty-one reports that follow this community organizer-developed template.

From a CPTED training which included Amani residents. Photo credit: Cassandra Leopold.

February: BYRNE Grant

Community Based Crime Reduction (CBCR), formerly known as the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation grant, is intended to provide local governments with funding focused on community policing strategies and social cohesion. DYCU is the research partner on a grant awarded to the Milwaukee Police Department in the Amani neighborhood, with partners including: Amani United, COA, Community Advocates, DA’s Office, Dominican Center, Hepatha Church, LISC, Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, Milwaukee Police Department, and Safe & Sound. DYCU helped residents co-create and administer a neighborhood survey.

March : What makes your neighborhood great?

Too often, people come into a neighborhood to fix an issue.  Failure to acknowledge that services, agencies, people and businesses already exist in the area can be a missed opportunity to build existing assets.  Matt Richardson and Carrie Koss Vallejo walked through an asset map with community members, and Katie Pritchard facilitated a discussion on ABCD or “Asset Based Community Development.”  In March, we posted blog on the event and a “Identifying Neighborhood Assets” tool to our website, updated with feedback from the neighborhood changemakers at this event, community organizers and volunteers.

April: Hyper local health data from the 500 Cities Project

For a neighborhood organizer who knows that asthma is a big deal in their area, looking at County and State numbers can seem daunting and irrelevant at the same time.  Finding small-scale data for neighborhoods is a challenge, especially for topics related to health.  The CDC, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and CDC Foundation collaborated on data for 27 indicators related to adult health for 500 Cities in the US at the census tract level.  We explored this data and shared it with partners throughout the Spring.  In April, we were discussing adding appendices to our neighborhood portraits and Katie was preparing to share this data set at our Data Day.

May: Data Day!  May 31st

Data Day is our signature event, when dataphiles connect to discuss all things data. We hosted 20 speakers, a Data Dream competition (congratulations again to winner ACTS Housing), and a discussion that lead to the founding of our Health data Users Group (HUG).  We experimented with a new format including IGNITE sessions.  For those not in the know, IGNITE presenters get 20 slides, which automatically advance every 15 seconds. The result is a fast and fun presentation which lasts just 5 minutes.  IGNITEs will be back this year  – the sessions received Excellent and Good ratings from over 90% of our Data Day survey respondents! 

Save the date for the next Data Day coming up on Wednesday May 30th, 2018.

June: Project Central Voice

Over the summer, DYCU worked with a team of community researchers interviewing residents of central Milwaukee neighborhoods.  Residents of the 53206 ZIP code were trained to conduct the interviews, a twist on the normal research method! The intent was to look for residents’ perceptions of community organizing and its relationship to crime control. During the second phase of the project, the focus is on documenting existing agencies, leaders, and assets in Milwaukee’s African American community. Partners in this work include the NAACP, the Wisconsin Black Historical Society and Deborah Blanks from UWM.

July: A new workspace and team member –

DYCU moved into the UWM Zilber School of Public Health.  Our offices within the school allow us to partner with staff and students and network with other agencies, including the Milwaukee Health Department (MHD), with whom we co-host Van Le, our LISC AmeriCorps Service Member.  


August: First HUG meeting!

From the first HUG meeting. Photo credit: Cassandra Leopold.

With a group of founding members, we successfully launched the first Health data User Group (HUG) meeting.  The founding group set forth some operating guidelines and proposed topics for future sessions.  The purpose is to bring together neighborhood groups, public health officials, health practitioners and academics to explore how health data can be used to improve neighborhood conditions.

September: Urban Institute recognizes DYCU as its official Milwaukee Partner

 After review by the Executive Committee and approval of its full membership, the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP)welcomed DYCU as its newest member.  NNIP is a collaborative effort by the Urban Institute and local partners to further the development and use of neighborhood information systems in local policymaking and community building.  Our partnership with NNIP has provided an effective forum to share and receive new ideas from organizations across the country.  

Photo credit: Cassandra Leopold.

October: Turning the Corner project

Turning the Corner is a national cross-site project that DYCU is involved in through NNIP and the Urban Institute.  The project explores the post-recession housing market and looks for indicators of change, focusing on neighborhoods that have the potential to become unaffordable for current residents and businesses.  The neighborhoods identified in Milwaukee for this project are Brewers Hill and Walker’s Point.  In October, DYCU staff conducted a focus group and several interviews with residents of Walker’s Point.  Look forward to our report which will be released in July 2018.  The broader cross-site report is planned for release by NNIP in December 2018.

November: DASH Conference

Katie Pritchard and Bridget Clementi from Children’s Hospital, were invited by the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP) to participate in a special Summit on Health and Housing. This day-long program in Chicago preceded the Midwest Forum on Hospitals, Health Systems and Population Health. It was sponsored by ALL IN and brought together “health doers” who are using and sharing data to improve communities. Most projects are multi-sector, collaborative efforts. It’s a network of collaborations from across the country that provide technical assistance webinars, affinity group calls, one-on-one connections and an on-line community to connect with others in this work where few roadmaps are available. Our plans are to make these resources available to our Health data Users Group.  Let us know if you’re interested!  

Photo credit: Cassandra Leopold.

December: 30th St Corridor releases the Garden Homes Neighborhood Plan

DYCU promotes neighborhood-level data with agencies that have neighborhood level expertise, including the 30th Street Industrial Corridor.  In December, the Garden Homes Neighborhood Plan was launched, and we are excited to partner with this organization (and many others) which work to improve Milwaukee.

Baker’s dozen bonus project:         

On December 14th, the Community Development Alliance meeting took place at the Zilber School of Public Health. Katie facilitated a discussion on the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Peer City Identification Tool.  We had the opportunity to do a deep-dive into the data with community members who are actively involved in revitalizing Milwaukee’s neighborhoods and commercial corridors.

What makes your neighborhood great?

Who and what are the people, places and things really make your neighborhood a great place to live, work and play?

This question is at the heart of neighborhood asset mapping, and was the focus of a workshop for neighborhood leaders presented by Data You Can Use this past fall. We held the event at the Washington Park Library Community Room, which is a great space for communal events. We appreciate our public libraries as an important asset for us and for people we work with, and Milwaukee Public Library is a great resource for books, information and a lot more!

Observations from the workshop from the attendees

  • “I learned [a lot] about other neighborhoods & communities [in Milwaukee].”
  • “[I] realize how many assets I have in my neighborhood.”
  • “[This] broadened my view of an asset.”

I lead a session along with  Carrie Koss Vallejo and Katie Pritchard. We decided to introduce the concept of Neighborhood Asset Mapping through a series of exercises:

  • Begin by describing your own personal assets—strengths, resources, skills. Share some examples with the group.
  • Consider the benefits of discussing things in terms of assets rather than problems or deficits.
  • Discuss the concept of a “neighborhood asset”  from the Asset Based Community Development Institute.
  • Ask individuals to  list the assets that are in their neighborhood.
  • Break into groups to share assets and discuss findings. For a sample of assets identified see here.
  • Reconvene the full group to discuss how asset mapping can help identify gaps in a neighborhood and opportunities for connecting.

As I was learning about asset mapping from them, it was great to rely on the attendees’ expertise while planning for the event, and to have them on hand during the day!

What is neighborhood asset mapping and who is it for?

Neighborhood asset maps, or “Asset Based Community Development” is a term coined by the ABCD Institute out of Northwestern University. While a more detailed description can be found ts on their website, the basic rationale is this:

Without the capacity for change, neighborhood change may not happen. Focusing first on what assets a neighborhood has, and where the opportunities and gaps are can reduce the effort to make things happen, which increases a neighborhood’s capacity for change.

That statement sounds good, but what does that mean for a resident on a block?

Making change happen in a neighborhood takes effort, time and resources. One of the most important parts of any change process is to understand your existing resources so that you can build from what you have. This is really at the heart of the work of Data You Can Use and is what Neighborhood Asset Mapping is all about.

In short, asset mapping is a way to collaboratively identify and visually describe assets and to use them as the basis of  building stronger, sustainable communities.

So who is neighborhood asset mapping for and who should use it? It is a tool for all stakeholders in a neighborhood or community. That includes residents, property owners, community organizations, community organizers and government. The collaborative process of asset mapping relies on the knowledge and insights of the residents and stakeholders who live and work in the community. The focus on identifying existing resources rather than deficits is more action oriented and can allow neighborhood residents to begin to link resources together and begin to address issues that have a more powerful  effect.

What can you do with neighborhood asset maps?

It is common for neighborhoods that are struggling with a particular issue to work inside their neighborhood and seek outside funding and assistance to help make change happen. One of the challenges of working with multiple outside partners is this: what is valuable to a resident in a neighborhood is not always what appears valuable to outside eyes. While not always the case, DYCU believes strongly on a “resident-first” approach. When mapping assets, it is important to start with the voices of people who live and work in a neighborhood, then to bring in outside resources to help satisfy that identified want. This practice helps ensure that the needs of the community are clearly represented in community development work.

Data You Can Use has created asset maps, and some of those are available on our web site. Stay tuned for updates!

As much need or want as a neighborhood might have, identifying existing resources within the community is an important first step.  We are excited about partnering with others to use asset mapping in neighborhood development and in further exploring ways to assure that the voice of people who live and work in a neighborhood is integral to the work.

Want to learn more about Neighborhood Asset Mapping for your neighborhood? You can learn more about the ABCD Institute here and by contacting us.

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