Allegany County Youth Recreation Visual Inventory

“Mapping the Recreational Landscape:  A Visual-Spatial Analysis of Places and Spaces for Youth Recreation.”  A project conducted by Karen L. Porter, Timothy DeMersman, Alexa Olson, Rudy Dieudonne, Elizabeth Shea, and Justin Grigg of the Rural Justice Institute at Alfred University.

(Supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Grant Number DD-BX-0104.)

The Rural Justice Institute conducted a visual-spatial analysis of recreational resources for youth that resulted in a map of recreational assets and programs located in Allegany County with photos to accompany it. To accomplish this task, Alfred University undergraduate Tim DeMersman* and Alexa Olson, a graduate of Syracuse University who interned with the project, drove around the county and used their skills as “visual sociologists” to photograph the recreational landscape.  A total of 115 locations were identified and organized into the following categories: churches, schools, libraries, balls fields, green spaces, rod and gun clubs, state hunting lands, commercial establishments, and youth programming sites. Addresses were associated with each of the places visited, but when that wasn’t possible, a GPS device was used to measure latitude and longitude coordinates.  Using this geographic information, maps of Allegany County were created by A.U. undergraduate, Rudy Dieudonne**, depicting the places and spaces with map “push pins.”  These maps serve as a way for the public to “see” recreational assets in geographical terms and to identify gaps in recreational services by locale. Through the use of maps and the accompanying photographs, relationships between the locations of recreational sites and the locations of other types of community institutions can be shown. These maps suggest that not only is youth programming and youth recreation outside of school-related activities scarce, but the facilities and buildings look to be older and in disrepair.  Our intent is to share these visual-spatial data with agencies and organizations that use these facilities in the hopes of inspiring grant applications for funds to address the geographical gaps in services and the need for more and better recreational opportunities.

Click here to see Tim’s power point presentation on the usefulness of visual-spatial analysis for the Partners of Prevention of Allegany County.*

Click here to see Rudy and Tim’s poster entitled “Rethinking Delinquency Prevention: A Look at Youth Recreation Places and Spaces.”**

Click here to see the Risk and Protective Factors Survey Summary.