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MetroView Offers Insights to Richmond Region

Tom Jacobson of the Wilder School's Center for Urban and Regional Analysis gives an overview of the Affordable Housing study at the MetroView Forum.
Tom Jacobson of the Wilder School's Center for Urban and Regional Analysis gives an overview of the Affordable Housing study at the MetroView Forum.

By Pamela Stallsmith

Planners and policymakers received an overview about MetroView at a recent forum about the Wilder School’s metro-wide information system.

The Wilder School and the Richmond Association of Realtors cohosted the event on Oct. 27 to explain the benefits and practical applications of MetroView, a geographic information system-based metro-wide information resource that offers an in-depth look at the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area consisting of 22 local jurisdictions.

Developed by the Wilder School’s Center for Urban and Regional Analysis, MetroView allows users to cut across the boundaries of local governments and track patterns and trends in land use, land value, business growth, and other socio-economic indicators.

“We can start at the most granular of information—the individual building and its activities (residential, retail, etc.) —and build up from there to better understand how various parts of the region, such as Jeff Davis Corridor, or the entire region, are changing and find solutions to pressing public policy issues,” said John Accordino, Ph.D., FAICP, dean of the Wilder School.

The information can help localities enhance decision-making, community planning, and engagement.

An example of how MetroView can be used to provide insight is a recent report by the Wilder School that showed how there are fewer affordable housing units near modest-wage jobs in the Richmond metropolitan area.  The report, “Understanding the Jobs–Affordable Housing Balance in the Richmond Region,” documents the geographic location of jobs generally available for households requiring low-cost housing.

“In a fragmented metropolitan region, MetroView offers social and economic indicators that allow us to provide meaningful interpretation of data that transcends local political boundaries and encourage collaboration,” said Fabrizio Fasulo, Ph.D., director of the Wilder School’s Center for Urban and Regional Analysis. “MetroView makes more information accessible to the region and its data users — from local planners and economic developers to realtors and grant makers".

MetroView aggregates about 522,000 parcels a year across the region, said Sarin Adhikari, Ph.D., research economist at CURA, and builds the database starting at the parcel-level.

“This unique system is developed from the block up, synthesizing infrastructure, real estate, and land use data from dozens of local governments with broader public surveys on education, employment, and demographics, which makes it an extremely valuable tool for comprehensive local and regional analysis” he said.