Ongoing Community Based Projects
Furman University’s Shi Institute for Sustainable Communities, Furman University’s Institute for the Advancement of Community Health (IACH), and LiveWell Greenville partnered to create an index that maps the most food insecure census tracts in Greenville County based on several risk factors. This project was born out of Greenville’s emergency food providers’ desire for data on where food insecurity is most pressing in the community so that food resources can be deployed where they are most needed. This need became even more urgent as COVID-19 has greatly exacerbated food insecurity in communities across the United States and around the world. Access the results here.
Shi Institute staff and student fellows are collaborating with community partners to research eviction filings in Greenville County. This project seeks to analyze how eviction filings are distributed across space and time and how they are related to other issues in Greenville including lack of affordable housing, gentrification, poverty, and homelessness. This work will also help us better understand the effects of federal and state eviction moratoriums like those instated in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic. Access preliminary findings here.
Racially Restrictive Covenants
Shi Institute staff and student researchers are in the process of analyzing Greenville County property deeds from 1907-1967 to look for racially restrictive covenants (RRCs), which were used in property deeds in the first half of the 20th century to exclude African Americans (among other racial and ethnic groups) from purchasing or renting properties in selective neighborhoods. This housing discrimination tactic was one of many that segregated communities, the effects of which are still present in modern neighborhood composition. The goal of this project is to better understand the lasting impacts of housing segregation in Greenville in the early to mid-1900s. We will create a free interactive online map of the locations of RRCs across Greenville County along with historic and current demographic data to analyze neighborhood change over time. With this map, community members can better understand how RRCs affected the Greenville they know today.
Recent Community Based Projects
Greenville County iMap
Furman University, Prisma Health, the United Way of Greenville County, and Greenville County partnered to create a web-based mapping application that allows community members to search a vetted database of community resources. Approximately 80 asset categories were identified, including government offices, senior care, health centers, food systems, childcare centers, and more. From within the mobile-friendly web application, users can initiate driving directions and phone calls to service providers. Access the map here.
Focused Needs and Assets Assessment
An interdisciplinary team of faculty, students, and staff, Furman undertook an integrated needs and assets assessment for 10 neighborhoods identified by the United Way of Greenville County. The study provides quality data to assist communities in designing their own strategies for improving educational outcomes and to help ensure a “Cycle of Success” for students during their schooling and beyond. The mixed-methodology project team conducted a community needs assessment based on a range of indicators, such as demographics, employment, and housing quality, and conducted interviews with community members, to expand the current understanding of the resources that may assist with addressing identified needs. Access the assessment here.
Participatory Planning in New Washington Heights
In collaboration with Greenville County and residents of the New Washington Heights neighborhood, Dr. Matt Cohen, Mike Winiski, and a team of eight undergraduate research students facilitated a public process to construct a vision for a 27-acre open space adjacent to the community. Over a three-week period, the project team engaged with 112 community members across diverse events, including hosting a public cookout, tabling at a community center, canvassing, and hosting a public workshop. The final vision report articulates community preferences for the space. Additional projects continue through student thesis research and ongoing conversations and collaboration.