This week we feature a post by our co-conspirator in the East End, Christi Vasquez. A native of the East End, Christi is a fierce advocate for the neighborhood. She is also a great researcher. See some of her thoughts using data from the Kinder Institute at Rice. The original post can be found at our sister website, eastendblockparty.org
BY CHRISTI VASQUEZ
Last week, a few colleagues/co-conspirators and I went to a Kinder Institute workshop that guided community changemakers through using their tool, the Houston Community Data Connections Dashboard. This is the interface that houses all of the neighborhood data gathered by Kinder, and the public can access it free of charge. The data is arranged by neighborhood, and has over 100 community indicators you can explore, and even compare to other Houston neighborhoods.
Prior to the workshop, I hadn’t known about this tool’s existence, but I was eager to browse it when I had time. The most fascinating part of this tool (to me) is the “rank” feature, which lets users know where a neighborhood falls throughout the entire city, in terms of whichever indicators you happen to be interested in.
I dug into the Magnolia Park community profile and here are just a few interesting tidbits I want to share:
Magnolia Park has the highest percentage of Hispanic/Latino residents of all 143 Houston neighborhoods. Accordingly, it ranks dead last for racial diversity.
It is the second most Catholic neighborhood in the city. The distinction of #1 goes to Magnolia Park’s neighbor to the south, Lawndale/Wayside.
Proponents of densifying urban areas might be surprised to know that Magnolia Park ranks among the Top 20 most dense neighborhoods in Houston—even with almost double the percentage of vacant lots (21.4%) than the city average (11.3%).
The income segregation index number (0.15 out of 1) is low which may not seem negative at first—but this is only the case because 28.5% of all Magnolia Park households live in poverty, and 63% of all of the neighborhood’s households make less than $45,000.
Magnolia Park has the second highest population of people in Houston that are at least 25 years old and without a high school diploma.
Perhaps speaking to one another, the neighborhood ranks in the top 10 for both highest percentage of foreign-born residents and highest percentage of limited English-speaking households.
For mobility, it ranks 20 out of 143 for percentage of households without a car.
Now here are just a few of the questions I have after looking at this data:
What can vital nonprofit organizations (those in healthcare, childhood development, etc.) do to make sure they can clearly communicate their message in Spanish?
Does the number of nonprofits dedicated to immigrant aid and assistance in the area, reflect the exceptionally high percentage of foreign-born residents?
If Magnolia Park is in the top 20 neighborhoods in Houston where households do not have a car, why is the public transportation infrastructure not better? Why are sidewalks nonexistent or crumbling, dangerous heaps in most of the neighborhood?
Why aren’t there traffic lights at dangerous intersections like Capitol and 75th Street if our population using mass transit/biking/walking is significantly higher than other Houston neighborhoods?
On that same note, why is the bike lane on Capitol Street only a block long—even though the Greater East End Management District’s map indicates that there is a bike lane for a significant portion of the street?
Why are developers building homes, and house flippers are flipping homes, that are priced in excess of $250,000 in the area, when the median household income is $33,038?
I encourage you to sign up for the site and browse the data yourself. And if you have any questions that come up, feel free to share them with us!