BRA: We’ll customize neighborhood census stats, maps

By 
Gal Tziperman Lotan
Apr. 7, 2011

The Boston Redevelopment Authority – or BRA – announced last Thursday that it will provide customized 2010 Census maps to those who disagree with the way it drew neighborhood boundaries or want a specially-tailored breakdown of the city.

“While the neighborhoods the BRA has mapped out for census number crunching by-and-large match how most perceive Boston’s configuration, we acknowledged some may dispute where neighborhoods begin and end,” the agency said in a press release.

Interested residents can e-mail neighborhood boundaries and cross streets to Mark Melnik, the BRA’s deputy director for research, at mark.melnik.bra@cityofboston.gov. The BRA will respond with a customized neighborhood map, complete with demographic data.

The announcement came after a story in The Reporter pointed out that some territories that are undisputedly considered to be in Dorchester – including Franklin Park, Franklin Field, and the stretch of Talbot Avenue where the Dorchester Boys and Girls Club is located – are considered parts of Roxbury or Mattapan under the BRA’s new map.

Susan Elsbree, the BRA’s spokesperson, said the agency has gotten requests for modified maps from various community development corporations, public health organizations, and other non-profits which need to establish clear neighborhood boundaries to apply for grants.

“We hope people find it to be very consumer-friendly,” she said. “This is one of the ways the BRA is reaching out to people. We hope that it’s a great public service.”

Other city departments can also request customized maps instead of using the BRA’s data, though Elsbree said she did not know if any would.

“We’re constantly working with other city agencies on mapping,” she said.