New Jersey’s Fair Housing Act and the Mount Laurel Doctrine promote an equitable distribution of affordable housing throughout the state. Fair Share Housing Center, founded in 1975, is a non-profit public interest law firm that leverages these policies to end entrenched discriminatory policies and housing segregation. We mandate that towns throughout the state of New Jersey plan for their fair share of affordable housing. As a result of Fair Share Housing Center’s work, tens of thousands of new affordable housing units are set to be built by 2025.
We would like to understand the state distribution of affordable housing over time, specifically in areas of opportunity. We propose to compare the siting of currently built and future planned affordable housing. By analyzing data on factors like income, proximity to amenities, and transit accessibility, we can evaluate how the Mount Laurel Doctrine is promoting equity and access in housing.
We would like to create a report that presents maps and statistics on the distribution of affordable housing today and how it has changed over time. What types of areas have affordable housing? Breaking the sites down by census tract, we want to analyze what percentage of the housing is located in areas of opportunity, measured by various metrics like proximity to transit, jobs, healthcare, healthy foods, and other amenities. Lastly, we have the ability to examine past and future affordable housing construction to see how affordable housing siting trends have shifted in the 21st century.
The maps and reports will help us integrate a wide range of data, including state data on race of occupants which has not been studied extensively. Internally, FSHC will be better equipped to effectively advocate and strategize in ongoing negotiations and advocacy. Externally, these data will help people looking to move into areas with specific advantages like being near transit. Lastly, the report will help guide researchers who have been studying our work, which has been the subject of several major social science research books (most recently “Climbing Mount Laurel” by Princeton University sociologist Douglas Massey) and a number of articles.
Applications for the Summer 2020 session of the Azavea Summer of Maps fellowship program are now closed.