Academic journal article Cityscape

Civil Unrest and Marginalization in Baltimore

Academic journal article Cityscape

Civil Unrest and Marginalization in Baltimore

Article excerpt

The map in exhibit 1 illustrates incidents of civil unrest that occurred in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 27, 2015. Incident locations were mapped relative to the 2010 U.S. census tracts designated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as Racially and Ethnically Concentrated Areas of Poverty (R/ECAP), and regional Labor Market Engagement Scores also were denoted by 2010 U.S. census tracts.1

Although incidents of civil unrest occurred citywide, the map demonstrates that many incidents took place within R/ECAP-designated census tracts. Moreover, most events occurred in areas with low labor-market engagement scores. Therefore, the map suggests a strong relationship among riot events, R/ECAP tracts, and areas of low labor-market engagement.

The selection of points and tracts relative to one another reveals that approximately 26 percent of all rioting events occurred within R/ECAP-designated tracts. Furthermore, 86 percent of the tracts where civil unrest occurred score 60 percent or less on the Labor Market Engagement Index, and, conversely, 88 percent of all incident points fall within those low scoring tracts.

Maps provide outstanding tools that can be used to identify spatial correlation. In this case, the map clearly reveals a strong correlation among the locations where incidents of civil unrest occurred, R/ECAP-designated census tracts, and areas of low labor-market engagement. Of course, the old adage correlation does not imply causation applies here as elsewhere, and additional analysis remains necessary to better understand the correlation alluded to in this particular map.

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Geographic Information Systems (GIS) organize and clarify the patterns of human activities on the Earth's surface and their interaction with each other. …

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