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Photo by Wei Zeng via Unsplash

Database Provider


Groundwork Milwaukee


7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Social Studies, Geography

Resource Type

  • Interactive Media

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Midwest, Wisconsin, Metro (CESA 1, 6)

Climate Safe Neighborhoods

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  • This interactive map of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin features demographic and environmental data.
  • Students can explore historically redlined neighborhoods, zoning districts, environmental hazards, areas prone to flooding, green spaces, and public health statistics, among other things.
Teaching Tips


  • There is so much great data in this map. Before delivering more guided instruction, you can allow students to simply explore the map to see what they can learn.
  • Students can use this data to better understand how low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately impacted by climate change and environmental hazards. This data is imported from the EPA's Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping Tool and is listed under "Brownfield and Environmental Hazards."

Additional Prerequisites

  • The heart of this tool is the Layers function, which is the second-from-right button in the top right-hand corner of the interactive map. There are 12 macro-categories of layers. Each macro-category has additional layers embedded underneath.
  • It is necessary to click the "eye" icon to make the different layers show up on the map. More specifically, the "parent" and "child" categories must both be viewable for that layer to show up on the map (e.g., both "Demographic" and "Heat Vulnerability Index" must be viewable in order to see that data).
  • Depending on age and ability of students, there may be vocabulary and concepts that will need to be explained before or during the lesson. Examples include HOLC Neighborhood Grades, Aldermanic Districts, and Median Surface Temperatures.
  • There are three boxes on the left-hand side of the screen showing basic data. Each of these boxes is a carousel featuring three different items. Click the left or right arrows to view more data.


  • This map might be overwhelming for individual students, so it may be best to have groups of students explore this map together. Groups of students can talk through the map as they explore.
  • History teachers can use this map to show the connection between historically redlined neighborhoods and environmental impacts felt today. To do so, enable Climate Safe Neighborhoods > HOLC Neighborhood Grades and one or more of the following:
    • Brownfield and Environmental Hazards > any of the EJ Index indicators
    • Water and Flooding > % Population Below the Poverty Line vs. % Block Group Area that Floods in 10yr Storm; % Population Below the Poverty Line vs. % Block Group Area that Floods in 100yr Storm
    • Green Space > Parks and Parkland
    • Demographic > Heat Vulnerability Index
    • Health > % of Adults with Asthma; % Adults with Cancer
    • CAPA Strategies Heat Watch Campaign > any indicators
    • Heat and Land Cover > any indicators
  • Social studies and civics teachers can discuss any number of demographic indicators and how they relate to geography, including race, median household income, poverty, and public health.
  • Science teachers can use this map to discuss the environmental benefits of green spaces and urban trees.
Scientist Notes
This map depicts climate-related risk in Milwaukee County. The population, health infrastructure, household income, green spaces, and other development priorities of the government have been impacted by climate change. The map can serve as a risk evaluation tool for people to develop adaptive strategies that can build climate and livelihood resilience in their neighborhoods. The metadata, data layers, and methods used in the map analysis are reliable, accurate, objective and well-sourced. On that account, this resource is recommended for teaching.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.2.6-8 Use maps, satellite images, photographs, and other representations to explain relationships between the locations of places and regions, and changes in their environmental characteristics.
      • D2.Geo.4.6-8 Explain how cultural patterns and economic decisions influence environments and the daily lives of people in both nearby and distant places.
      • D2.Geo.2.9-12 Use maps, satellite images, photographs, and other representations to explain relationships between the locations of places and regions and their political, cultural, and economic dynamics.
      • D2.Geo.5.9-12 Evaluate how political and economic decisions throughout time have influenced cultural and environmental characteristics of various places and regions.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.
  • National Health Education Standards
    • Standard 1: Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.
      • 1.8.3 Analyze how the environment affects personal health.
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