" BES Project Abstracts 2005
Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2005 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Mapping Historical Lifestyle Clusters for the Gwynns Falls Watershed.
Boone, Christopher G., Runser-Turner, Caroline
Abstract: Neighborhoods can be treated as patches of urban and suburban areas, separating one group with a specific identity -- tied to place and social characteristics -- from other groups. Although neighborhood boundaries are notoriously “fuzzy,” the Census Bureau aggregates data at geographies with fixed boundaries that approximate the neighborhood. The boundaries of census tracts are determined partly by landmarks, such as roads, and by population thresholds, but communities also have input into the boundaries. Group identity develops through a variety of means, including social status, household characteristics, life-cycle, race, history, and place. Claritas’ PRIZM (Potential Rating Index for Zipcode Markets), developed by demographers and sociologists for market research, is a powerful classification system for group identity or “lifestyle clusters.” The BES has obtained PRIZM data for 2003, 2000, and 1990 (the earliest data available). As part of a larger project to assess the impact of past lifestyle clusters on present day landcover, this presentation demonstrates the results of a historical lifestyle cluster typology. Using principal components analysis of selected variables from the 1960 Census, we created a neighborhood typology for metropolitan areas in Maryland in 1960. All but one of the neighborhood types is found in the Gwynns Falls Watershed, demonstrating that the BES’ focus watershed offers a useful “gradient” or “patchwork” of neighborhood types.