Reminding myself about a neighborhood map

(the latest in a series of posts on Neighborhoods)

Martha Larkin’s recent post on William Penn school and catching up on the Northside 2027 web site made Gadfly realize that he needs to keep some interesting past ideas on his radar.

In a comment to a post entitled “You’ve got me thinking about neighborhoods,” in which Gadfly talked about wishing for a census of neighborhoods and a map of neighborhoods, Karen Beck Pooley wrote:

I love the idea of a neighborhood map for Bethlehem! The “North Side” and even the “Northside 2027” subarea of it are both made up of multiple neighborhoods. And the same can be said of the “South Side” and “West Bethlehem” – and yet we often just talk about each of those areas as a single place. Our doing so actually makes community engagement, neighborhood organizing, and even tailoring neighborhood revitalization strategies harder…

A neighborhood map. A map of neighborhoods. Gadfly doesn’t want to lose that idea.

Integrally tied with such a map would be posts capturing the flavor of life in each neighborhood.

A month or so ago Gadfly tried to get some traction on this idea by focusing on schools. He keeps hearing in mind’s ear CM Reynolds talk about his “beloved” William Penn and Thomas Jefferson.

Schools are a way we map neighborhoods. That might be an easy place to start.

Gadfly searched around online for a map of Bethlehem by elementary school area. No luck. He went to the school district on Sycamore and asked — no luck. But a worker with good ears stationed at a distance overheard and volunteered that there might be one in a calendar. Sure enough. But still not quite what I wanted nor transferable online.

Bethlehem school folk Karen and Michael Faccinetto are Gadfly followers — if you know of such a map, pass on the info, wouldya?

So this is just a note to myself not to let this mapping idea slip away.

3 thoughts on “Reminding myself about a neighborhood map

  1. The term ‘neighborhood’ is very misused and I agree with Karen Beck-Pooley on this. Growing up on Media Street in the 1950s and 1960s I came to identify my neighborhood as the area bounded by Stefko Boulevard, Washington Avenue and Walter Street, roughly a 3 block square area in the form of a triangle. Those boundaries weren’t hard and fast because we certainly knew families and their kids outside this area. But, day to day, with parents knowing whose children were whose, formulating daily play relationships, and as a general area in which we could be found doing what kids do and neighbors having backyard picnics, that was my neighborhood.

  2. This is a great idea, but I want to mention three points:
    (1) neighborhoods overlap, so be careful about drawing hard lines;
    (2) to a school district, neighborhoods (catchment areas’) change according to the schools’ needs, not the natural associations of a neighborhood;
    (3) neighborhood definitions adopted by a city often reflect either marketing schemes or ‘block watch’ groups formed by the police.

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