National Opportunity Zones Ranking Report

The newly created federal Opportunity Zones program will likely go down as the largest and most significant federal community development initiative in U.S. history. With pre-designated lower-income communities that have been nominated by each state slated to receive trillions of dollars in new private investment, states are considering how to make the most of that investment. One way to do so is by directing state transportation funds to further catalyze economic development in those distressed communities, but this raises questions: which Opportunity Zones are in the best position to grow as a result of the investment?  And how can states, localities, and the private sector ensure that growth benefits, rather than displaces, existing residents?

Research by LOCUS (a program of Smart Growth America) and the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at George Washington University helps identify which Opportunity Zones should be prioritized for investment in order to deliver positive economic, environmental, and social returns. It ranks 7,800+ Opportunity Zones, broken out by state, according to their smart growth potential and current social equity (based on existing transit access, transportation and housing affordability, and other factors). It also provides a policy framework and case studies to ensure equitable, inclusive development in Opportunity Zones through transportation, land use, and development decisions.

Download the report.