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Neighborhood Mapping Exercise


This exercise is designed to help you to see the inequality and differences that exist in all of our communities, especially with access to fresh and health food and safe living environments. This exercise is designed to take about 2 hours. 
Form a small group to complete the exercise of about 3-5 people. Visit two different neighborhoods, such as urban and suburban, suburban and rural, urban and rural, ethnically or racially distinct neighborhoods. The neighborhoods need to be different enough to provide you with the ability to compare and contrast the two. The exercise can be even more useful if you have multiple small groups looking at a different neighborhoods; this provides more information for the discussion section.
Collecting Data (1 hour):
·        Record your observations:
o       What is the appearance of the buildings; are they mostly residential, commercial, or a combination? What is the quality and maintenance of these buildings? If there are commercial buildings, what are they and what type of product do they sell?
o       Examine the buildings in this neighborhood as well. What businesses are present, what businesses do you notice missing from this neighborhood. Which businesses seem to be the most popular, what services do they provide? What places are there to eat at, to do chores, or other activities? What is the style of the residences here, townhouses, apartment buildings, houses? What is the maintenance of these residences?
o       What is the quality of the streets and sidewalks? Do you see streetlamps around, and if so how frequently? What type of vehicles do you see: taxis, buses, delivery trucks, personal vehicles? Do more people seem to drive, walk, or take public transportation?
o       Is there any green-space in the neighborhood, if so what kind? If there is green-space do people seem to use it; what activities are they doing there?
o       Describe the people that you see in this neighborhood? What is their race or ethnicity, how are they dressed, what type of accessories are they carrying or using? What are these people doing: going to work, shopping, walking their dog, doing their laundry?
o       What languages do you see and hear?
o       Try to find out some history of the neighborhood by talking to locals, business owners. If there is an information area, gather materials on this neighborhood.
o       Find out what places that tourists should visit while they are in the neighborhood.
o       Take one picture that epitomizes this neighborhood.
Processing Data (1 hour):
·        Talk about what you saw and experienced. Compare and Contrast the two neighborhoods. What surprised you the most while you were in both neighborhoods? What expectations did you have for each neighborhood? Were these expectations realized, why or why not?
·        Share the photos that you took in each neighborhood and explain why you took them
·        Summarize what your experiences and create a small poster to visually represent each neighborhood.
·        Share in discussion as to how it might be possible to help achieve more equality between the two neighborhoods that you looked at. How might you help, your circle, your church, you community?

© 2014 United Methodist Women