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The UNC Center for Community Capital is partnering with JPMorgan Chase to investigate the intersecting roles of place, opportunity, and housing in linking low- and moderate-income (LMI) families to the amenities, services, and institutions that might improve and enhance their quality of life.

With a special focus on San Francisco and New Orleans, the CCC conducted an Opportunity Assessment using a twofold, mixed-methods

approach: first, the creation of a data-driven index of place-based opportunity that will provide JPMC and its community partners with a means through which to refine community development and investment strategies; and second, the use of community-level research that will identify the gap between perceived opportunity, or proximity to amenities and services, and realized or actual access to opportunity.

In this project, the use of community-level research is of particular importance as we attempt to understand what leads to effective, realized access to opportunity. We believe that quantitative metrics, like the opportunity index, can assess access to opportunity, while the qualitative community analysis can assess what causes people to engage fully with opportunities that are available to them (as well as assess the quality of those opportunities). The qualitative analysis will offer a rigorous assessment of opportunity at the local level and that it can serve to help narrow in on the something extra that shifts “access” to “actual and beneficial use.” A recent blog post, “Behind the Numbers,” elaborates more around our approach and unique methodology.

In March 2018, the Center for Community Capital released the full opportunity assessment report (“Assessing and Promoting Opportunity in Low- and Moderate-Income Communities”) along with a standalone Executive Summary and a Technical Appendix.

Screenshot from the Center’s new interactive StoryMap featuring research and findings from the Center’s latest report.

In June 2018, the Center also launched two interactive and multimedia StoryMaps (one highlighting our research in San Francisco, the other in New Orleans). The StoryMaps feature research and findings from the Center’s report, Assessing and Promoting Opportunity in Low- and Moderate-Income Communities and also include multimedia elements including images, interactive maps, and videos of residents who, in their own words, illustrate how housing plays a central role in access to opportunities.