There is good news out of Southeast-Central Durham. The area near N.C. Central University has among the highest percentage per capita of four-star and five-star child care centers in the city. One hundred percent of these centers have attained that ranking, well above the county average of 59 percent.

Move farther east, though near Liberty Street and Miami Boulevard, and there are none.

This is the kind of data that makes the Durham Neighborhood Compass so valuable not only for map and numbers geeks, but policymakers, businesses and residents.
The Compass, which operates out of city’s Neighborhood Improvement Services and Technology Solutions departments, launched last year. And in the past month, led by project manager John Killeen, the Compass has uploaded and mapped even more data that tells us not only important facts about our quality of life, but how to address issues in housing, voting, jobs, poverty, crime and access to groceries, child care and health care.

The most recent Compass upgrade increased the number of mapped neighborhoods to 189, up from 155.
It also provides data on
• Areas with licensed child care centers, including those with four or five stars

• Voter participation in 2012 primary and general election

• New certificates of occupancy (known as COAs) for business, industry and residences

This data reflects completed construction or improvements to properties by neighborhood. Areas of Watts-Hillandale have 22 of these residential COAs per square mile—that could mean there is not only interest, but space to build or money for improvements. Meanwhile, in one area of Northeast-Central Durham, near Canal Street, there is just one. And this is the same neighborhood where nearly 10 percent of homes are in poor or unsound condition.

• Poor and unsound housing conditions

This shows the proportion of residential units that the county tax administration office assessed to be in “poor or unsound” condition, showing severe deterioration or homes potentially unfit for living in. For example, the city average is 1 percent; the Central Park and Cleveland Holloway neighborhoods exceed that, with 3 percent of homes in bad condition. In Northgate Park, that percentage is just 0.3 percent.