The North Hartford Promise Zone Mapping project is an action research project committed to exploring the area of Hartford, CT known as the North Hartford Promise Zone. The Promise Zone, an area specially designated by the United State Department of Housing and Urban Development, consists of the neighborhoods of Northeast, Upper Albany, and Clay Arsenal. Our work is being completed in conjunction with the Hartford branch of the organization Community Solutions. Community Solutions promotes comprehensive community development in the realms of housing development, economic development, and environmental well-being in addition to other goals for the Promise Zone. Currently, the organization is focused on renovating the former Swift Factory located in the Promise Zone into a community work space and center of jobs. In addition, though, the organization is concerned with the relationship between the physical environment (housing, public spaces, etc.) and health. This project team is focused on studying housing conditions and public health outcomes as they pertain to the Promise Zone. Our project will answer the following research questions:
-To what extent do poor housing conditions exist in the Promise Zone? Where are those conditions concentrated?
-What is the economic context under which these conditions occur?
-What other indicators of housing insecurity exist in the area?
-To what extent are public health outcomes more or less severe in the area compared to the rest of Hartford? Which health outcomes, both mental and physical, stand out?
-To what extent is there a relationship between poor housing conditions/insecurities and poor health outcomes?
-In conjunction with Community Solutions, how can we create final products which effectively communicate the answers to these questions (i.e. our findings) with policymakers, activists, and Promise Zone residents?
To answer these questions, our team collected data about the neighborhood’s economic background, housing stock, and public health landscape. Our project is a quantitative data project focused on analyzing statistics and numerically measurable information about the Promise Zone. After completing our data collection and analysis, our team then constructed “story maps” using the mapping program ArcGIS and its counterpart ArcGIS Online. These maps answer our research questions and serve as a way to teach others about housing, health, and life in the North Hartford Promise Zone.