We are most fortunate in Dallas to have two truly amazing resources that enable community research and enhance understanding of what is actually going on in urban neighborhoods.
When you have a moment or two, take a look at Analyze Dallas and the Dallas Indicators. I think you will find both sites incredibly interesting. You can search out data right down to the Census tract and the parcel address across a wide variety of social and civic categories. The links are listed below:
Dallas Indicators is a comprehensive web site of key community measures, designed to encourage people to get involved in bettering their own communities. It is produced by The Dallas Foundation and the Foundation for Community Empowerment, in collaboration with The Boston Consulting Group, Belo Corporation, and the Dallas Citizens Council. Dallas Indicators completed a major update May 17, 2006, and the site will be updated at regular intervals thereafter.
Analyze Dallas is a sister project of the Foundation for Community Empowerment. As an extension of the Dallas Indicators effort, Analyze Dallas provides community developers, advocates, leaders and activists detailed data about Dallas at a geographic level that leads to informed decisions.
Both projects are linked to the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP) a collaborative effort by the Urban Institute and local partners to further the development and use of neighborhood-level information systems in local policymaking and community building. The goal of NNIP, simply put, is the "democratization of information."
Those of us who work in inner city neighborhoods in Dallas find these tools to be extremely useful in understanding our communities.