Noble Neighbors partners with CWRU to assess neighborhoods
Noble Neighbors will partner with Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) to complete a community assessment in the spring. The survey area will include the five census tracts in Cleveland Heights that abut Noble Road. These are in the northern end of the city, north of Mayfield Road and east of Taylor Road.
The study will be led by Mark Chupp, professor at CWRU’s Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences (MSASS) and associate at the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development. For the property survey portion of the assessment, graduate students in Chupp’s macro practice skills course will partner with residents in the Noble area to conduct a sidewalk visual survey of each property, record its use and condition, and note any special features of the more than 4,000 lots in the district. When the data is recorded into a geographic information system (GIS) format, residents, city planners and investors will have access to information on Noble-area assets and development opportunities.
The survey is part of a larger community assessment conducted by MSASS that will focus on four themes: housing, retail, safety, and children and youth. Focus groups composed of Noble Neighbors members and other community stakeholders will provide MSASS students with personal stories about the neighborhoods, to complement the students’ statistical research.
Noble Neighbors hosted Chupp, project designer Brenda Mathias (a 2014 MSASS graduate), and project leader and graduate student Nina Holzer at its November meeting. The three introduced the project to the group and described a community assessment completed by them in 2014 for the North Coventry district. Chupp explained the importance of community-assessment skills for social workers. Although most social workers engage clients in individual or small-group settings away from their homes, he explained, it is critical for them to understand the environmental context that affects their clients’ lives. This project gives future social workers some of the skills needed to understand neighborhood context.
At the upcoming Noble Neighbors meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 3, to be held at 7 p.m. at Noble Road Presbyterian Church, 18 students will join Chupp and Holzer as they kick off the project. Attendees will be trained for the survey process, sign up for tasks and join focus groups. The results will be presented at a Noble Neighbors meeting in April. Visit www.nobleneighbors.com to follow the project’s progress and learn how to participate.
The City of Cleveland Heights has supported the project with maps, historical data and technical assistance, and will use data from the report for planning and development purposes. FutureHeights will also participate. Chupp, a FutureHeights board member, is leading the project, and staff and volunteers will participate in survey planning and the focus groups. Results will be published in the Heights Observer. FutureHeights will also include the Noble neighborhood in its newly funded Community Capacity-Building program.
The year-old Noble Neighbors organization seeks to work with other leaders in other parts of town to further strengthen all the neighborhoods of Cleveland Heights.
Brenda H. May
Brenda H. May is one of the leaders of Noble Neighbors. She has lived in the Noble area for 30 years.