Seize the Opportunity to Develop an Equity Atlas

May 5, 2015   |  Tags: Blog   |  Tags: Equity , Population Health , Social Determinants of Health
Scotty Ellis, Coalition for a Livable Future

Equity atlases are powerful mapping tools that have been widely successful in promoting healthier, more equitable places. To support communities across the United States in creating their own equity atlas, a groundbreaking new toolkit has just been launched. The newly released Equity Atlas Development Toolkit comprehensively guides users through each stage of the equity atlas creation process.


Equity Atlas Background

Equity atlases are tools that use high-quality maps and data to show where different demographic groups live; how well they are able to access key resources such as transit, quality education, affordable housing, jobs, food, and parks; and how these patterns affect their health and well-being. By illuminating a community’s geography of opportunity, equity atlases can play a vital role in supporting advocacy and policy change to promote greater equity.

In 2007, the Coalition for a Livable Future (CLF) launched the nation’s first ever equity atlas. Their Regional Equity Atlas received widespread attention for its innovative analysis of regional inequities and has spurred the incorporation of equity into many policies, programs, and plans throughout the Portland (Oregon) region. This equity atlas also inspired several cities from across the nation to develop their own equity atlases.  

The success of the Atlas led CLF to create an updated version in 2013 – the Regional Equity Atlas 2.0. This online version enables users to create charts and maps for purposes including identifying areas of highest need, informing health and equity impact assessments, identifying vulnerable populations through demographic data, analyzing potential sites for investment, and tracking performance measures.  


Launch of Equity Atlas Toolkit

Since its launch, the Regional Equity Atlas 2.0 has become an important equity asset for the local region, and has generated interest from communities throughout the nation. To help emulate its success throughout the nation, the Coalition for a Livable Future and Oregon Health Care Quality Corporation have responded with the creation of a toolkit to assist groups in developing their own equity atlas. This work would not have been possible without the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

In addition to the toolkit, CLF will be hosting a series of webinars that will cover the basics of an equity atlas and the steps to building your own equity atlas. If you are interested in learning more about equity atlases and the toolkit, please join us for the following webinars:


WEBINAR: Equity Atlas Basics

May 12, 2015 11:00-12:00pm PST

Learn more about what equity atlases are and how they empower communities to advance equity.

Watch the recorded webinar >>>


WEBINAR: Building an Equity Atlas

May 27, 2015 11:00-12:00pm PST

This webinar focuses on the equity atlas development process. Learn about how you can develop an equity atlas for your community.

Watch the recorded webinar >>>


Scotty Ellis is the Equity Program Manager at Coalition for a Livable Future. Through his background in community planning and health advocacy, Scotty has developed experience in incorporating health and equity considerations into all levels of policy. Additionally, as the staff lead for the Coalition for a Livable Future's Regional Equity Atlas, Scotty has become a leader in understanding how to transform data into action. Scotty holds a Master of Public Health and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University as well a bachelor's degree from the University of San Francisco.