The dictionary defines community as “a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.” This definition only begins to tell the story of what a community really is. Unique communities are found across our region. Looking at a map, you may find names like South Norfolk or Ghent or Phoebus. While these maps speak to the geographic location of these areas, many maps fail to accurately represent the many community assets that make up the fabric of those communities.
Public participation is critical in the transportation planning process. Understanding the communities impacted by the transportation process is imperative. The HRTPO recognizes this and has embarked on a mission to explore methods to better understand the communities in which you live. No one understands the communities in Hampton Roads better than the people who live, work and play in these communities. With that in mind, the HRTPO has begun to explore the potential of “Community Impact Mapping” as a potential strategy to engage environmental justice communities in the transportation planning process.
A conceptual “HRTPO Community Impact Mapping” tool was presented to the Environmental Justice Roundtable on September 9th 2015. Ideas and comments from participants will be used to continue to improve the tool to better serve the residents of Hampton Roads.
This tool is designed to provide the public with a method to display the assets and challenges that are unique to the communities in which they live, work and play. This will provide valuable information that helps provide rich information for a map that not only tells “where” a community is, but also “what” a community is.