Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as an Advocacy Tool: Mapping Variation in Availability of Institutional Resources in New Haven, Connecticut Neighborhoods

Document Type


Summary Description

This study investigated the distribution of resources such as schools, libraries, parks, and clinics across different neighborhoods in New Haven, Connecticut, using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The research found no significant correlation between the average family income in a neighborhood and the availability of these resources. Despite the lack of significant findings, the study suggests further research is needed to explore resource inequities, particularly for lower-income families in wealthier neighborhoods, and to evaluate the quality and affordability of these resources. The unique context of New Haven, with its diverse income levels and the presence of Yale University, may have influenced the study's outcomes.


This quantitative, secondary data analysis examined the current geographic distribution of institutional resources in New Haven, Connecticut at neighborhood-level. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) was used in this study to provide a framework to identify and compare institutional resource assets and gaps in resource availability for twenty New Haven neighborhoods compared to neighborhood average family income (DataHaven, 2014). Nine institutional resources were grouped into three distinct developmental domains and mapped: cognitive-academic (public schools, public libraries, community childcare centers), social-emotional (museums, churches, outpatient child and adolescent mental health clinics), and physical-health (open green spaces, supermarkets/grocery, hospitals/pediatric primary care offices). Analysis examined domain-specific and total institutional resource distribution between neighborhoods using the Spearman rho test. Findings showed an insignificant relationship between average family income and cognitive-academic domain resources, social-emotional domain resources, physical-health domain resources, and all available institutional resources. Despite these findings, this study provides social workers-policymakers-community organizers with the evidence to advocate for needed resources for children and families in underserved neighborhoods.

New Haven Neighborhood

Amity; Annex; Beaver Hills; Dixwell; Downtown; Dwight; East Rock; East Shore; Edgewood; Fair Haven; Fair Haven Heights; Hill; Newhallville; Prospect Hill; Quinnipiac Meadows; West River; West Rock; Westville; Wooster Square; Mill River

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