Community Indicators for Your Community

Real, lasting community change is built around knowing where you are, where you want to be, and whether your efforts are making a difference. Indicators are a necessary ingredient for sustainable change. And the process of selecting community indicators -- who chooses, how they choose, what they choose -- is as important as the data you select.

The Jacksonville Community Council (JCCI) understands indicators and community change, with more than 25 years of producing the annual Quality of Life Progress Report for Jacksonville and the Northeast Florida region, and two decades of helping other communities develop their own sustainable indicators projects. JCCI consultants give you the information you need to measure progress, identify priorities for action, and assess results.

I'd like to talk with you personally about how we can help. E-mail me at
ben@jcci.org, call (904) 396-3052, or visit CommunityWorks for more information. From San Antonio to Siberia, we're ready and willing to assist.


Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Rural v. Urban Quality of Life Measures in Argentina

Last month we talked about rural and urban issues in measuring the quality of life. As mentioned in the previous post, core issues are often different.

I just ran across an interesting article titled "Ampliando el estudio de la calidad de vida hacia el espacio rural. El caso del Partido de General Pueyrredon, Argentina" (Extending the study of the quality of life to the rural space. The case of the Municipality of General Pueyrredon, Argentina.)

It helps to know Spanish for this article. From the abstract:

Concientes de la escasez de información referida a la calidad de vida en los asentamientos rurales, el propósito de esta investigación es impulsar la transferencia de la experiencia existente en el campo de los asentamientos urbanos hacia el hábitat rural.

En tanto, se propone un ejercicio de comparación entre Indicadores de Calidad de Vida para el espacio urbano y el espacio rural, procurando con esto poner en discusión la necesidad de ampliar los estudios hacia las áreas rurales en un contexto reconocido como de refuncionalización del espacio rural.

El recorte espacial considerado en el presente artículo corresponde al espacio rural del partido de General Pueyrredon localizado en la zona sudeste de la provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Intentando lograr esto el artículo se centra en resultados preliminares obtenidos mediante el uso de fuentes estadísticas oficiales provistas por el INDEC (fracciones y radios censales) y la elaboración de índices de calidad de vida que combinan las dimensiones educación, salud, vivienda y ambiente. Dichos índices se han conformado en técnicas certeras para el reconocimiento de los contrastes territoriales. En la representación de dichos contrastes ha sido de suma utilidad el empleo de sistemas de información geográfica, que mediante capas de información dan claridad a la interpretación de los procesos socioterritoriales.


Translated:

Knowing the shortage of information linked to the rural quality of life the intention of this investigation is to impel the transference of the existing experience in the urban field to the rural habitat. Consequently a comparison is proposed between the urban Quality of life indicator and the rural space trying to encourage the discussion of the need to extend the study towards the rural areas in a context of resignificance of the rural space.

The area of study in the present article corresponds to the rural space of the Municipality of General Pueyrredon located in the Southeastern zone of the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The paper focuses on preliminary results obtained by the official statistical organization called INDEC (census tracks) and the elaboration of a quality of life index that combines four dimensions: education, health, housing and environment. This index has been developed using accurate techniques for the recognition of territorial contrasts. The use of a geographical information system - which combines different layers of information - has been of supreme utility since it maps the contrasts and eases the interpretation of the social and territorial processes.

What I liked about the article was the careful construction of different indices to measure the quality of life for the urban and rural communities, and then mapping the results to show how the targeted index could tell you more about the population needs of the community. It drives home clearly the need to develop a community indicators system that reflects the actual lived experience of the people being measured.

The full article, in PDF format, is available here.

(As a side note, if you're interested in helping provide a more global perspective to the discussion of community indicators and would like to be a contributing blogger to this site in the language of your choice, please let me know. There's too much happening around the world now, and even more going to be happening after the Istanbul Declaration, to try to keep up with my limited language skills.)

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