Understanding Akron’s neighborhoods in 30 maps
Jason Segedy is Director of the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study.
I have written before about the important of rejecting false choices when it comes to discussing our places. Most urban places are large and diverse enough that they cannot easily be pigeonholed or painted with an overly broad-brush.
Is Akron getting better or worse? The answer, of course, is “both,” or “neither,” or “it depends.” And what it depends upon is which neighborhoods we are talking about.
Akron, like all larger cities, is full of a wondrous array of people, places and things. It is at the neighborhood level that its diversity becomes most apparent.
The great American writer E.B. White penned one of my favorite descriptions of the way that the ultimate city (New York) functions as a series of smaller places, rather than as one large place:
The oft-quoted thumbnail sketch of New York is, of course: “It’s a wonderful place, but I’d hate to live there.” I have an idea that people from villages and small towns, people accustomed to the convenience and friendliness of neighborhood over-the-fence living, are unaware that life in New York follows the neighborhood pattern. The city is literally a composite of tens of thousands of tiny neighborhood units…each area is a city within a city within a city…So complete is each neighborhood, and so strong is the sense of neighborhood, that many a New Yorker spends a lifetime within the confines of an area smaller than a country village. Let him walk two blocks from his corner and he is in a strange land and will feel uneasy till he gets back.
While Akron is far smaller than New York, its neighborhoods still contain considerable variety in terms of history, culture, socioeconomic characteristics and the built environment.
The city contains neighborhoods that were built in the 1920s, where every fourth house today is vacant, and the median sales price is below $50,000; and it contains neighborhood hoods where houses built during that same time period regularly sell for $500,000.
The city is home to neighborhoods where upwards of 75 percent of the residents are college-educated, and it contains other neighborhoods where less than 50 percent of the residents have graduated from high school.
My purpose in this post is to give the reader a sense of the rich culture and socioeconomic diversity that can be found here. I give a general overview of Akron’s 20 primary neighborhoods, dividing them into seven general categories. I also present a variety of socio-economic data for 210 secondary neighborhoods, in order to illustrate what our neighborhoods look like and who lives in them. To read these details, and to view the 30 maps promised above, follow this link.