Mapping Opportunity: A Critical Assessment

Mapping Opportunity: A Critical Assessment

A renewed interest has emerged on spatial opportunity structures and their role in shaping housing policy, community development, and equity planning. To this end, many have tried to quantify the geography of opportunity and quite literally plot it in a map. In this paper we explore the conceptual foundations and analytical methods that underlie the current practice of opportunity mapping. We find that opportunity maps can inform housing policy and metropolitan planning but that greater consideration should be given to the variables included, the methods in which variables are geographically articulated and combined, and the extent to which the public is engaged in opportunity mapping exercises.

Eli Knapp, Gerrit-Jan Knaap, and Chao Liu

National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education

October 30, 2014

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