Document Type


Publication Date



Technology plays a vital role in public and private businesses, governments, and organizations, and can be especially useful to organizations that may know the least about it. Unfortunately, many Community Based Organizations (CBOs) have traditionally been unable to embrace contemporary tools due to lack of capacity, time or money. This paper begins to identify issues related to the technology gap faced by CBOs in a case study that examines community economic empowerment for the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative® (DSNI). The problem was approached through a community-university partnership between the Cornell University CRP 607 GIS Workshop Class (Sibley Consulting) and DSNI. One of the main technological tools used in bridging this gap was the use of geographic information systems (GIS). With an increase in GIS capability, DSNI can collect, manage, analyze and visualize neighborhood data, thus providing simple but powerful knowledge to the community. A geodatabase should be created where new and existing data can be stored, updated, and utilized repetitively. The geodatabase will allow DSNI to manipulate the data for a wide range of uses such as evaluating neighborhood trends for economic development. This classroom experiment provided students with an opportunity to provide professional technology services as a ‘mock’ consulting team. However, all of the data, maps and geospatial and other web-based technology evaluations will be utilized by DSNI and will have an immediate impact on the future of the Dudley neighborhood. This report is an educational tool for DSNI in order to evaluate the future database design and community GIS application. This report can also be seen as a model by which other community-university teams can measure their successful implementation to create a resident led community database information management system. A series of base maps which depict existing conditions along with secondary data resources have been used to evaluate the Dudley Neighborhood in Roxbury and North Dorchester, Massachusetts.


Authored collaboratively with the Cornell University CRP 607 GIS Workshop Class (Sibley Consulting) and the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI).

Contributors to this document include:

  • Boston Redevelopment Authority
  • City of Ithaca Department of Planning & Development
  • Cornell University Department of City and Regional Planning
  • Cornell University Office of Statistical Consulting
  • Cornell University Public Service Center
  • City of Boston Assessing Department
  • City of Boston Department of Neighborhood Development
  • Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative
  • Environmental Systems Research Institute
  • Fitch-Nolan Media & Design
  • Isaac David Productions
  • MassHousing
  • Metropolitan Area Planning Council
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology