The Fifth Ward is a historically African American neighborhood just northeast of Houston’s Downtown that today comprises a majority African American (47%) and Hispanic and Latino (48%) community. Despite its proximity to the city center, 38.16% of its 17,802 residents are in poverty, while 13.39% are unemployed.  Based on 2018 census data, the Fifth Ward ranks above the Harris County average for demographic factors that could be seen as posing COVID-19 challenges: scoring higher than the Harris County average on the percentage of residents over 65 years, households without internet access, children living with single parents, persons with disability, households without a car, unemployment, low-wage earners, and household income less than $15,000.  How exactly have Fifth Ward residents experienced the stay-at-home order and its after-effects in spatial, environmental, and social terms?
These maps look at the Fifth Ward (and adjoining Kashmere Gardens ) through several demographic lenses. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Social Vulnerability Index Ranking for Harris County in 2018 is perhaps the most telling map for the neighborhood; it accounts for 4 themes (socioeconomic status, household composition and disability, minority status and language, housing and transportation) which may be seen to place residents under extra duress during a pandemic. The map assigns most of the Greater Fifth Ward area the highest vulnerability score of >5. According to 2018 Health of Houston data on neighborhoods at risk of potential severe COVID-19 cases, the Fifth Ward also falls in 11-12% and 13-20% (highest) health risk categories.  2015-2019 American Community Survey (ACS) data reveals geographic wealth disparity: households in the Fifth Ward and other neighborhoods east of Houston’s Downtown have a significantly lower average yearly income (<$25,000 and $25,000-$50,000), than high-income regions immediately west of Downtown (>$100,000 and $75,000-$100,000). Yet its census tracts are not homogeneous, and exhibit a range of household sizes and percentages of families with children below poverty level. These maps establish a preliminary view of the selected neighborhood and where it sits in the diverse yet unequal geography of Houston.
Map of Neighborhood Amenities
This context map locates the Greater Fifth Ward in relation to the Buffalo and Hunting Bayous, and to adjacent neighborhoods Kashmere Gardens and Denver Harbor. It indicates urban density, green spaces and public transport, proximity to highway infrastructure, FEMA floodplains, and distribution of existing neighborhood amenities and community resources.  A number of these amenities (grocery stores, health services, washaterias, churches, community organizations, and public parks) and transport infrastructures (METRO bus, major highways) are mentioned in participant interviews. To protect participant privacy, household addresses are not shown in the map or in any drawings, and amenities described by participants have generalized locations in the spatial survey drawings.
Parts of the Greater Fifth Ward (and the majority of neighboring Kashmere Gardens) falls within the FEMA 100-year and 500-year floodplain (shaded blue on the map). Buildings within these areas are considered more susceptible to flood events and may compound existing home stresses in wet seasons. During interviews, a few participants (Jane, Lydia) showed or described signs of flood damage to their homes from Hurricane Harvey in 2017, which they had been living with even through the pandemic. There are 44 small grocery stores in the three-neighborhood area, mostly concentrated along the major avenues Lyons Avenue and Lockwood Drive. However, there are only 2 big box supermarkets (Fiesta Mart) that service these neighborhoods, and no major supermarkets such as HEB, Krogers, or Walmart.  For a reflection on participants’ experience with food and essential supplies, see “Notes on Site and Access” under Findings.
 For comprehensive data, see “Community Overview” in "Fifth Ward (inside Houston city boundary) Profile," HCDC Dashboard, Rice Kinder Institute for Urban Research, https://www.datahouston.org/neighborhood/K003.html.
 Based on ACS 5-year Estimates 2014-2018. See “Full Profile” in "Fifth Ward (inside Houston city boundary) Profile," HCDC Dashboard, Rice Kinder Institute for Urban Research,https://www.datahouston.org/neighborhood/K003.html.
 Note that in our neighborhood map we have included contextual information in adjacent neighborhoods Kashmere Gardens and Denver Harbor, even though they are not formally part of the Greater Fifth Ward boundary. It shows the neighborhood’s proximity to the Hunting Bayou, and lends a broader picture of amenities access, particularly as some participants make mention of spaces that fall outside the formal border of the Fifth Ward.
 See also Stephanie Lamm, "These areas of Harris County are at highest risk from coronavirus," Houston Chronicle, March 20, 2020, https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Virus-could-hit-Harris-unevenly-15147054.php.
 Note that in our neighborhood map we have included contextual information in adjacent neighborhoods Kashmere Gardens and Denver Harbor, even though they are not formally part of the Greater Fifth Ward boundary. It shows the neighborhood’s proximity to the Hunting Bayou, and lends a broader picture of amenities access, particularly as some participants make mention of amenities outside the formal border of the Fifth Ward.
 See "Houston Area Food Access Analysis Tool," interactive map, UT Health Science Center at Houston, SPH, 2017, https://utxsph.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=a2ad56a8981347c489993140040effd6.