Open Map Tool Anyone Can Use to Explore Opportunity Zones Online
Free mapping tool from Smart Growth America lets you explore the new Opportunity Zones, with many helpful data layers including brownfields!
Last December, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created a new community development program aimed at encouraging long-term private capital investment in America’s low-income urban and rural communities. Introduced by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Tim Scott (R-SC), the federal Opportunity Zones program provides three scalable tax incentives for investors to re-invest their unrealized capital gains into Opportunity Funds dedicated to investing in distressed communities.
To help ensure the new program delivers on its promise to improve lives by improving communities, Smart Growth America created the LOCUS Opportunity Zone Navigator, an easy-to-use, interactive tool for the individuals and organizations interested in real estate, policy, and business, economic, and community development activities in America’s newly designated Opportunity Zones. Along with LOCUS’ additional Opportunity Zones resources and recommendations, the new online mapping tool will help you understand:
- What are Opportunity Zones and where are they?
- What’s in them and who calls them home?
- What is an Opportunity Fund and how can you create one?
- What type of investment and revitalization opportunities are available in each Opportunity Zone, based on a variety of their economic, environmental, demographic, housing, and infrastructure characteristics?
- What can cities, philanthropies, advocates, and the private sector do now?
The LOCUS Opportunity Zone Navigator is an interactive mapping tool that allows users to search designated census tracts for transit, environmental, economic, housing, and affordability information. It is intended to guide Opportunity Zone stakeholders in better understanding the economic, environmental, demographic, housing, and infrastructure characteristics of a designated Opportunity Zone census tract and in turn, the type of development that will maximize public and private returns on investment and benefit the residents there.
Using the Opportunity Zone Navigator
To view the boundaries of the Opportunity Zone census tracts
Turn on the “Opportunity Zones and Transit,” “Zones with Brownfields,” “Population Density,” “Affordability,” or “Commercial/ Industrial Jobs” layers, located in the upper lefthand corner of the map.
To locate a specific location by name or address
Click on the grey magnifying glass located in the lower left of the map.
To view layer-specific information
Turn on each data layer to display the following information by selecting a census tract. Click here for a comprehensive data dictionary.
To view layer-specific information
Select only that layer whose data you wish to view and click on the census tract you would like to learn more about. The “Transit Station” and Brownfields” layers can be turned on at all times. If all other layers are selected, you will only be able to view the data displayed by the “Opportunity Zones and Transit” layer.
To view data beyond the census tract level
The widget panel occupying the bottom or righthand side of the map depicts aggregate information about the census tracts captured by the zoom of the map. For example, the closer you zoom in on the map, the less census tracts you capture. The widget panel will display aggregate information about that small number of captured census tracts. If you are zoomed in on an area that does not contain Opportunity Zones, the widget panels will display “No Data Available” messages.
The further you zoom out on the map, the more census tracts you capture. The widget panel will display aggregate information about that larger number of captured census tracts.
Expanding widgets (if panel occupies the right of the map)
In order to view the “MSA/County,” “H + T as % of 80 AMI,” “Population,” and “Jobs” widgets for an area zoom, click the three vertical dots next to each widget title. This function will collapse any of the 6 widgets.
Source: Smarth Growth America