*Names in bold indicate Presenter
In 2010, HUD launched its Sustainable Communities grant program and began encouraging local governments and metropolitan coalitions to conduct “opportunity mapping” exercises. These exercises require grant recipients to measure and map differences in access to local opportunity structures for residents in different neighborhoods within the metropolitan area. The notion that the neighborhood in which a person lives shapes their social and economic opportunities is not new, but how opportunity is to be measured, displayed, and used to guide policy decision making remains under examined.
In this paper we conduct such an examination using data from the Baltimore metropolitan area. Specifically, we examine the conceptual foundations of opportunity mapping and discuss the challenges of presenting spatial variation in opportunity on maps. Toward this end, we examine the sociological literature regarding the influences that shape access to opportunity, and their effect on social mobility. We then collect, organize, and map these variables for the Baltimore metropolitan area. Then, using factor and discriminant analysis we define several categories of opportunity and explore the extent to which access to opportunity vary for minorities and residents of publically subsidized housing. Preliminary results suggest there are statistically significant differences in access to opportunity between white and African American residents and between residents of public and private housing. We conclude with recommendations for how to promote fair opportunity in the Baltimore metropolitan areas and for how opportunity maps can be used to promote fair access to opportunity nationwide.