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.


Friday, August 31, 2007

Canada Releases Education Indicators

From Statistics Canada:

The report "Summary Public School Indicators for the Provinces and Territories", released today, provides a comprehensive examination of public school indicators for the provinces and territories during the academic years from 1998/1999 to 2004/2005.

It examines trends in enrolment and the number of educators in public elementary and secondary schools, as well as basic financial statistics, such as total spending on education and spending per student.

If you were looking for Canadian public school data, there you are. You may also be interested in The Canadian Education Statistics Council and their report, Education Indicators in Canada: Report of the Pan-Canadian Education Indicators Program 2005.

More details about the Summary Public School Indicators Report can be found here:

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 5102.

The report "Summary Public School Indicators for the Provinces and Territories, 1998/1999 to 2004/2005", part of the Culture, Tourism and the Centre for Education Statistics - Research Papers (81-595-MIE2007050, free) is now available online. From the Publications module, under Free Internet publications, choose Education, then Culture, Tourism and the Centre for Education Statistics - Research Papers.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Client Services (toll-free 1-800-307-3382; 613-951-7608; fax: 613-951-4441; educationstats@statcan.ca), Culture, Tourism and the Centre for Education Statistics.

Read more ...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Name the Next State of the World Theme

Here's an appeal from the Worldwatch Institute I thought readers of this blog might be interested in.

State of the World 2009: ???

For the past several years, themed editions have helped us frame our annual State of the World report around the big ideas that will speed the transition to an environmentally sustainable world.

Each year, the Worldwatch Institute staff comes together to brainstorm the most important stories to include in our annual assessment of progress toward healthier societies, more equitable economies, and a cleaner environment.

We've highlighted consumption, global security, the rise of China and India on the world scene, and the unprecedented demographic shift that will make the world predominantly urban for the first time in history. Next year, we're planning to focus on the innovations needed to create a sustainable global economy.

Now, we want to hear from YOU. Help us decide what the big stories will be in 2009—and help us pick the theme that best ties them together for a compelling package.

What issues do you think will be most relevant in the months and years ahead? Which topics do you think deserve close scrutiny by experts at Worldwatch next year?

Suggest your idea for the next big State of the World theme.

Read more ...

Numberpedia

I was excited to read in The Numbers Guy's blog about Numberpedia, an attempt to create a Wikipedia about numbers.

From the article:

The site, launched two weeks ago and still small, aspires to be the Wikipedia of numbers—a place where anyone can contribute (or seek out) statistics about a wide range of topics.

“At its core, it’s a way for people to store statistics that they find online,” says Eric Silverberg, Numberpedia’s creator and a 27-year-old student at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Mr. Silverberg has been posting a half few dozen entries each day and has begun promoting the site with emails to fellow MIT students and Stanford University alumni. He says there are a “couple thousand” registered users so far.

Numberpedia is full of promise and pitfalls. Like Wikipedia, each entry is supposed to include a link to source material and there are forums where other users can discuss and question entries. Unlike Wikipedia, a contributor can opt to prevent other users from editing a certain entry. Mr. Silverberg doesn’t guarantee the numbers will be accurate, saying, “It’s up to the user who finds one of these statistics to judge the credibility of the author and the source.”

I went to Numberpedia to see what the excitement was about. It has some interesting numbers on it -- from the fiscal 2008 US defense budget to the sale price of dog-chewed Vick trading cards.

There's some possibilities there, including the ability to create projects and link a series of statistics within them.

It's something to keep your eye on ....

Read more ...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Measures of Australia's Progress

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released the Measures of Australia's Progress: Summary Indicators, 2007 (Edition 2)

From the press release:

Measures of Australia's Progress: Summary Indicators, presents a summary of measures which relate to the 14 headline dimensions of progress presented in MAP. It presents the headline indicators (where a headline indicator is available) at the national level, and a brief summary discussion about the measure and associated trends.

As MAP draws on data from a number of different sources, released at different times of the year, it is inevitable that more recent data will become available for the headline indicators at some stage following release of the Summary Indicators product.

While the timing of release of MAP: Summary Indicators, 2007 (Edition 1) was chosen to allow most of the indicators to be as up to date as possible, three sources were expected to have new data available in the months following its release. These were the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory 2005, produced by the Australian Greenhouse Office, the ABS Survey of Income and Housing 2005-06, and the ABS Voluntary Work Survey, 2005-06.

To ensure that the MAP Summary Indicators publication remains up-to-date, we have updated data and text in the following sections:

  • Economic hardship
  • Biodiversity – the land clearing section
  • Atmosphere – greenhouse gas emissions
  • Family, community and social cohesion – voluntary work section.

Read more ...

Blog Action Day

This site will be participating, and would like to invite other bloggers to join in.

BLOGGERS TO UNITE ON BLOG ACTION DAY

All Blogs Invited to Take Part in Joining Voices to Help Environment

An international initiative of bloggers known as "Blog Action Day" launched today, with the aim of uniting thousands of blogging voices, talking about one issue for one day. This year on Blog Action Day, which is slated for Oct. 15, 2007, bloggers will be discussing the environment.



Major blogs have signed up to participate, including Lifehacker, Dumb Little Man, Lifehack.org, Get Rich Slowly, Web Worker Daily, GigaOm, The Simple Dollar, Zen Habits, Freelance Switch, LifeClever, Unclutterer, Pronet Advertising, Wise Bread and many more.



"For just one day, we'd like to unite as many of the millions of bloggers around the world and speak about one issue - the environment," said Collis Ta'eed, an Australian blogger from FreelanceSwitch.com, and a cofounder of Blog Action Day. "We want to display the potential and the power of the blogging community, which is a disparate community but one with an amazing size, breadth and diversity. By bringing everyone together for one day, we can see just how much can be achieved, and how much we can be heard."


Blog Action Day is a non-profit initiative, and will be an annual event. As an alternative to blogging about the environment on Blog Action Day, bloggers can opt to participate by donating their blog's proceeds from Oct. 15 to one of several environmental organizations chosen for this purpose: Greenpeace International, The Nature Conservancy, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), the Conservation Fund, and the Sierra Club.



Bloggers who would like to participate in Blog Action Day should visit BlogActionDay.org or email Collis Ta'eed at collis@eden.cc, so they can be listed on the Blog Action Day site. To participate, a blog just needs to write about the issue of the environment on Oct. 15, 2007, or donate its proceeds for the day to one of the chosen environmental organizations.

Read more ...

Income, Poverty, and Insurance Estimates

From the press release:

DeNavas-Walt, Carmen, Bernadette D. Proctor, and Jessica Smith
U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, P60-233
U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 2007

Household Income Rises, Poverty Rate Declines, Number of Uninsured Up

Full Report PDF [78p.] at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2007pubs/p60-233.pdf

August 28, 2007

Press release: http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/income_wealth/010583.html

“….. Real median household income in the United States climbed between 2005 and 2006, reaching $48,200, according to a report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the second consecutive year that income has risen.

Meanwhile, the nation’s official poverty rate declined for the first time this decade, from 12.6 percent in 2005 to 12.3 percent in 2006. There were 36.5 million people in poverty in 2006, not statistically different from 2005. The number of people without health insurance coverage rose from 44.8 million (15.3 percent) in 2005 to 47 million (15.8 percent) in 2006.

These findings are contained in the Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2006 report. The data were compiled from information collected in the 2007 Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC). Also released today were income, poverty and earnings data from the 2006 American Community Survey (ACS) for states and metropolitan areas, counties, cities and American Indian/Alaska Native areas of 65,000 population or more and all congressional districts. (This year marks the first time that the population in group quarters such as prisons, college dorms, military barracks and nursing homes is included, so the 2006 estimates are not fully comparable to the 2005 estimates.) ….”

Read more ...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

American Community Survey Release Today

The 2006 American Community Survey is being released today with a web conference at 10:00 a.m. EDT. You can join it on the web or dial in to an audio line.

Many of us have been waiting for the updated data, but there are some important changes this year. You may find these presentations helpful as they describe the different poverty counts for "money income," "market income," "post-social insurance income," and "disposable income."

Here is the release schedule:

August 28, 2007: Income, Earnings and Poverty Data

September 12, 2007: Social, Economic, Housing, and Demographic Characteristics; Public Use Microdata File; Data Profiles, Geographic Comparison Tables, Ranking Tables, Narrative Profiles

September 27, 2007: Selected Population Profiles; Workplace Tables (tables for where a person works, not where he or she lives); Group Quarters Data Profiles

Read more ...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Corporate Sustainability Reports: Making the Grade

I saw an interesting report on Greenbiz.com by way of the folks at SocialFunds.com.

More and more companies are publishing triple bottom line reports, and are submitting their reports for the Ceres-ACCA North American Awards for Sustainability Reporting. Check out the Report of the Judges (PDF) which shows the strengths (and weaknesses) of the applicant reports.

From the news report:

Over the past six years, entries into the Ceres-ACCA North American Awards for Sustainability Reporting have grown five-fold from 20 in its first year to 102 this year. This increase reflects the significant growth in companies publishing sustainability reports. With the increased calls from consumers, shareholders, and other stakeholders for greater corporate transparency and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) publishing the third version of its Sustainability Reporting Guidelines in 2006, more companies from all sectors are creating these reports to explain and document their economic, environmental, and social performance.

Besides the sheer increase in the number of companies writing sustainability reports and entering the Ceres-ACCA Awards, Ceres points to the increase in comprehensiveness and the quality of information provided. “In the early days, most reports were either exclusively environmental in focus, on the one hand, or essentially foundation or philanthropy reports, on the other,” reported Brooke Barton, Manager, Corporate Accountability at Ceres.

Barton told Socialfunds.com, “Today, more than 80% of the submissions are full-blown sustainability reports referencing the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and providing triple bottom line – social, environmental and economic – disclosure. This marks a sea change in the way companies are approaching sustainability. More and more, they are managing, measuring, and reporting on their sustainability performance in an integrated fashion that reflects the truly interconnected nature of these issues.” ...

Almost half (49) of the US companies in the S&P 100 Index now disclose information above and beyond the financial, covering companies’ environmental, social, and governance issues, according to the Social Investment Research Analysts Network (SIRAN) and KLD Research & Analytics (KLD), who released their annual study on sustainability reporting at the April Ceres Conference. Thirty-eight of the S&P 100 Index are using the GRI’s Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. ...

“Sustainability reports can provide a glimpse of how a company sees itself,” explained Katy Chapdelaine, a research analyst at KLD. “However, to provide investors with a full perspective on company performance, analysts at KLD utilize a range of sources outside of company publications, including press coverage, government data, and information from non-governmental organizations.”

“Now, just under half of the widely watched companies in the S&P 100 issued sustainability reports in 2006. By next year, I expect a majority of the S&P 100 will be doing so, and increasingly sustainability reporting will be the norm and not reporting will be the exception,” said Steve Lippman, Vice President of Asset Research at Trillium Asset Management, who worked with KLD to develop this year's study.

Read more ...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Indicators of Singles in Communities

Did you catch the article in Forbes listing the top U.S. cities for singles? You can even check out the international ranking of cities by appeal to singles.

What I found interesting wasn't the list -- everyone's got a list these days (it would be interesting to have a list of cities ranked by how many lists they appear on, wouldn't it?) No, what I enjoyed was the methodology. Do you ever read the methodologies behind these lists? Sometimes they surprise you, and sometimes they've got a hidden gem or data source in their index that they'll share with you. I received some critical data one time from the kind people behind the America's Most Literate Cities rankings, and I'll always appreciate their willingness to share.

So here's the methodology behind the rankings. And these are really fun.

First they measured the singles, the "ratio of a metro's population above the age of 15 that has never been married." That's Census data, and not really that exciting, but a necessary data point to begin with.

They had a "Coolness" factor: "We determine coolness by an area's diversity and its number of creative workers (i.e., those whose jobs require creativity, such as artists, scientists, teachers and musicians). Richard Florida and Kevin Stolarick of Catalytix and Carnegie Mellon University gave us the data." I like Richard Florida's work (which doesn't keep me from complaining about the weakness of the data sometimes), but I don't get so jazzed up about Dr. Florida being the arbiter of what's cool. So far, it's just an OK list for me.

Job Growth is next -- obvious, but probably necessary. "Job growth rankings are determined by the projected job growth percentage over the next five years for each metro. Washington, D.C.-based Woods & Poole Economics provided the data."

They add a "Buzz factor", which I find annoying -- the same kind of thing started a number of arguments in our community when Black Enterprise Magazine named it one of the Top 10 Cities for African Americans. If you have a web-based survey as part of the index, someone's going to try to game it, and someone else isn't going to trust it because they'll think it's been gamed. To Forbes' credit, they let us know that this part is almost meaningless (so why include it?): "The city's buzz factor is determined by the outcome of an interactive poll in which we asked our readers to give a city a thumbs-up, a thumbs-down or a shrug. Buzz is substantially less heavily weighted in determining the final rankings then the other factors."

But then they get to real data, and they source it. Nightlife and Culture seemed like pretty good indicators:

Nightlife: Nightlife is based on the number of restaurants, bars and nightclubs in each standard metropolitan area. This year we tweaked our formula to give a higher weighting to restaurants and less to bars and nightclubs. Nightlife data is provided by AOL City Guide/Digital City.

Culture: Our cultural index is determined by ranking and then equally weighting the number of museums, pro sports teams, live theaters and university population in each metro. Data courtesy AOL City Guides/Digital City and McGill University.

Now here's the part I really liked:

Cost Of Living Alone: Our proprietary Cost Of Living Alone index is determined by the average cost of a metro area's apartment rents, Pizza Hut pizza, a movie ticket and six-pack of Heineken. The majority of the raw data was provided by Arlington, Va.-based ACCRA.

Isn't that a more interesting, and probably relevant, indicator? How often do we miss the opportunity to think creatively about a new measure to express something we really want to know about? (I think I would have added "laundromat fees" to the list, just for kicks.)

So check the methodologies behind these kinds of lists, and start thinking creatively. Please share your favorite quirky indicators!

Read more ...

Friday, August 24, 2007

Odds of Dying and Years of Potential Life Lost

I came across a couple of interesting tools in search of an indicator more meaningful and scalable than life expectancy. The problem with life expectancy as a community indicator is that many communities are simple too small in terms of population to get a meaningful life expectancy with a margin of error small enough to be able to observe differences. There are a number of personal life expectancy calculators available, but they don't usually address community characteristics.

Besides, if you're working on a neighborhood indicator project, do you really want to do this kind of math?

One alternative is to measure Years of Potential Life Lost. The advantages to this measure are that you can deal with smaller populations with fairly real-time data using straightforward calculations. It also gives heavier weight in your community to those who die young. More about this measure can be found here.

The major problem with YPLL as an indicator is that it takes a moment to explain -- the indicator isn't immediately accessible to the reader/viewer. A different measure, Odds of Dying, has the advantage of grabbing the imagination quickly.

The National Safety Council and National Geographic published a chart on the odds of dying. As the great American philosopher Jim Morrison reminds us, the odds of dying are 1:1 -- "no one here gets out alive." But how we go -- now that's interesting.

Swivel has the data sets available for the NSC calculations for you to play with. You can also see sample charts people have created using the data. For a different tabular list of the data, see this site.

Of course, you can take odds-of-dying calculations to the ridiculous, as these folks have done. but what I think is interesting is using the methodology to look at causes of deaths in your community and the odds of dying. You could use rolling averages if necessary to examine gender or racial disparities in odds of dying.

Have you used these measures before? What do you think about their possibilities?

Read more ...

Visualizing Websites as Graphs

This is an incredible article I needed to share. The author uses a simple web applet, provided free on the site, to analyze the link structure of websites, and then chart it out. It's much more beautiful than it sounds.

Check out Websites as Graphs to see what I'm talking about.

Because the author color-coded the types of tags, the graphics are really quite interesting, and convey a rich depth of information (besides just looking pretty.)

Read more ...

Graphs and Charts USA TODAY style

Sometimes we who work with data feel that there's an unbridgable gulf between Joe Sixpack and the wonderful world of data we live in. Anytime I begin to get frustrated at the lack of statistical literacy among the world at large or the difficulty in conveying important indicator trends to the community that desperately needs this information, I turn to USA TODAY.

This newspaper consistently uses data, charts, and graphs to tell stories to its readers. Most newspapers do. USA TODAY does it better than most.

Some of the examples you're familiar with. Their daily snapshot graph usually conveys information in an interesting way. Here's how they describe wetlands destruction in a way that tells the story. Go through their snapshot collection to see the last 20 graphs -- all different, all interesting, all conveying information in a clear, nonthreatening fashion.

Of course we recognize the data they use on their markets, sports, and weather pages -- every newspaper is full of data on stocks, scores, and temperatures (though the weather map on USATODAY is a really good one.) But the front page usually has 3-5 graphs or charts on it, and I can seldom pick up a paper without finding graphs in every section -- including the Life section, where I've found charts covering the most amazing things (I think one tracking length of relationships of a particularly celebrity amused me the most.)

How you experimented in making USA TODAY-style graphs with your indicators project -- using the chart itself as a way to convey information and tell the story, doing something more than generating bars or lines on Excel? Have you drawn the length of a cigarette to indicate smoking, the size of a house to show homeownership, the pages of a book to show literacy? Do you have examples to share?

Read more ...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sustainable Community Indicators from AIA

Smart Growth Online has a quick heads-up about a new publication from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Center for Communities by Design. They've produced a first draft of a selection of prominent sustainability practices (DOC).

The official description: The information outlined in this document offers a general overview of how-to guidelines, community indicators/benchmarks, and other similar sources as a reference starting point to understand the very broad and wide-ranging field of community sustainability. In particular, this selection is an approach to facilitate Benchmarking Models to Evaluate the Sustainability of a Community in their relationship to the AIA's 10 Principles for Livable Communities Including Benchmarking Models equipping both architects and their communities implementing sustainable practices.

What I find interesting is the discussion of urban amenity indicators and urban design indicators, and the recognition that no single standard set of indicators would accurately reflect the changing circumstances and preferences of every urban situation. Instead, they provide examples and case studies that help conceptualize how you might build an indicator set that would describe whether your community is sustainable.

Take a look, then check out the other publications from AIA.

Read more ...

Monday, August 20, 2007

More Maps and Mapping Tools

As a follow-up to the earlier post on mapping, I thought I'd share a couple of interesting websites.

The first is called simply strange maps. It's a collection of maps, some very old, some remarkably new, that get you to think about the world a little differently. The United States of Florida hits pretty close to home, but it's an interesting way to take data and display it in a way that the audience sits up and takes notice. And, reminding me of an earlier map we saw of soft-drink naming conventions, here's a map that divides the country by fans of professional baseball teams.

The second site I'd like to direct your attention to is a blog called Google Maps Mania. The blog keeps you up-to-date on mapping tools and mashups, as well as instructional pieces on how to create and search user-created content in Google maps, examples of interesting maps people have made, games involving maps, and other mapping-related blogs.

Now take the time to check out one last mapping site -- Matt Jones' Wikimapia blog. It's what you need to know to use Wikimapia, especially if you want to get beyond the official Wikimapia blog. (If you haven't peeked at Wikimapia, do so! Google doesn't own everything .... yet.)

What other mapping sites do you recommend for those interested in different ways to display community indicators?

Read more ...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Interrelatedness of QOL Indicators

Wayne Seville has an excellent post at his blog, Greetings from Route 50. His piece on Quality of Life demonstrates clearly how arts and culture is linked with medical care and community health which is linked to economic development which is linked to higher education and so forth. But he says it much better, and he has pictures, so I'd like to send you over there to take a look.

These conversations are happening across the world. In Harlingen, Texas, folks are wrestling (rasslin'?) with what quality of life means for their community. Erie, Pennsylvania is looking at national quality of life rankings (PDF) as a key piece to economic revitalization. The City of North Las Vegas, Nevada is asking its residents to take a quality of life survey as part of its efforts to see if they are meeting their strategic plan.

And it's not just in the U.S. Just this week, Hong Kong is paying attention to measures of the quality of life, and Toronto is looking at quality-of-life impacts related to budget cuts while Montreal gloats.

You have new urbanists looking at quality of life factors to encourage sustainable neighborhoods, and environmentalists calling on quality-of-life reasons to stop drilling in neighborhoods.

All in all, it's a great time to be reaching out and pulling together and building networks of people interested in measuring the quality of life in communities. It's that important, and the time is now.

Read more ...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Indicators on Two Wheels: Measuring Bicycles?

Some time back, I had run across a MySpace page arguing that bicyclists are social indicators.

I had thought this interesting, and began an article about it, but once you got past the first sentence or two, there wasn't much more to be said -- I thought.

For the record, here's the first couple sentences of the MySpace article: "Bicyclists are social indicators. The number of people riding and commuting by bicycle can tell us something about the communities in which we live in." While I suspected that was true, I wasn't quite sure what that "something" was.

After all, in one part of the area I live in, we have an extraordinarily high number of accidents involving bicyclists. Anecdotally, I've been told by someone working in the field that the number of bicycle accidents are proportional to DUI's resulting in suspended licenses, leading to a rise of "bicycling while intoxicated" that can be more deadly than being back behind the wheel, though less of a threat to others. But I don't think that's the "something" that the number-of-bicyclists indicator would tell us.

Then I ran across Richard Layman's blog. He references a Sacramento Bee article called Cycle City? in which Peter Jacobsen "points to a key 'indicator species,' the female cyclist. Their numbers on the road, he argues, are a direct measure of the perceived safety of cycling and its likelihood to catch on with the general population."

Bicyclists as a measure of the popularity of bicycling doesn't seem like such an exciting indicator. But bicyclists as a measure of perceptions of safety and of urban renewal and the development of neighborhoods? That's a lot more interesting.

Richard Layman continues:

And midtown is a logical incubator for cycling. It's where trips tend to be shorter and more easily manageable on two wheels. Midtown is packed with destinations for younger folks, with lots of restaurants, bars and nightclubs. In my own informal survey of these young cruisers, cycling was cited as a great way to avoid DUIs when you're enjoying midtown's nightlife.

They also mention greater ease of parking. And of course midtown's numerous bike lanes -- with more on the way -- contribute a sense of safety. But I think the key element is the compactness of midtown.

Now we're getting somewhere. (And the DUI's got thrown in too!) But cycling as an indicator of responsible, compact development patterns and smart growth management is intriguing. And cyclists as a measure of how well a community is attracting the creative class is another. And I'm sure there are community health implications in a rise in cyclists as well.

One more point: Layman suggests that it isn't just bicyclists, but female bicyclists, that serve as a good leading indicator.

This is analogous to the point I make that since women conduct upwards of 80% of all retail transactions, commercial districts that are unsafe and dirty don't stand a chance. See "The presence of women as indicators of revitalization success."

Gender equity. Economic vitality. Safety. Health. Growth management. What an opportunity for a simple measurement to tell lots of stories!

What do you think? Do you use measures of cyclists as part of a community indicators set? Is it a good idea?

Update: Be sure to check out this post on further uses of bicycles as a community indicator!

Read more ...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Exciting News from Redefining Progress

Here's an update from the amazing folks at Redefining Progress:

We have a new website! Our new look features fresh content, better navigation, and in-depth information about Redefining Progress and how we find solutions that balance economic well-being, environmental preservation, and social justice.

I’m also excited about
The 11th Hour, a film in which Michel Gelobter, Redefining Progress’ President, appears. The 11th Hour, produced by Leonardo DeCaprio, features some of the world's most prominent thinkers and activists as they offer hope and solutions for a planet in crisis.

Before you leave the website, be sure to browse our
research and publications, sign up to receive the RP newsletter or make a generous donation toward creating a sustainable economy.

Please let me know what you think!

PS. Our new website is the result of a generous Service Grant from the
Taproot Foundation, a pro-bono service that matches skilled professionals with nonprofit organizations. Thanks, Taproot!

Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this.
Tell-a-friend!

If you received this message from a friend, you can sign up for Redefining Progress.

Read more ...

Indicators of Energy Consumption

I was playing around with an interesting data source this week I thought I'd share. The Energy Information Administration of the U.S. government has a series of tables, charts, and graphs tracking energy and energy production.

Some of the data sets I found interesting were:

And there's a lot more information to explore. Take a look and let me know what you find useful.

Read more ...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Mapping Made Easy

Community indicators are often more powerful when mapped. And interesting data, when mapped, can often tell us something more than any table or graph might.

Now it's getting easier and easier to make maps happen. Lyle at his new PublicValue blog pointed me to a news article about how widespread and easy mapping tools have become.

The New York Times ran an article called With Tools on Web, Amateurs Reshape Mapmaking 27 July 2007. the article begins this way:

On the Web, anyone can be a mapmaker. With the help of simple tools introduced by Internet companies recently, millions of people are trying their hand at cartography, drawing on digital maps and annotating them with text, images, sound and videos.

In the process, they are reshaping the world of mapmaking and collectively creating a new kind of atlas that is likely to be both richer and messier than any other.

They are also turning the Web into a medium where maps will play a more central role in how information is organized and found.

Here are a set of resources that can turn anyone into a mapmaker:

Google Maps: My Maps
Google Earth (download)
Microsoft maps (for Virtual Earth download, click on "3D")
Microsoft Collections
Platial
MotionBased

What can you do with maps? Check these links out!

MAPS
Graffiti in Federal Way, Wash.
Hydrofoils Around the World
Cheap Eats in New York City
Illinois Yarn Stores
Biodiesel Stations in New England
Trace Tribute Endurance Horse Ride by April Johnson
Geotagged Photos From Flickr Users
Favorite Places to Eat In Seattle While Boating
Tour de France Stages
Top 10 Oregon Vineyards

Do you have a favorite map to share?

Read more ...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Urban Markets Initiative Conference

Here's a great opportunity to learn more about how to move action forward and drive community change using data.

Urban Markets Initiative Forum 2007

October 18, 3:00pm to October 19, 2007
The Brookings Institution
Washington, DC
Register today

Join us at the second Urban Markets Initiative Forum entitled "Connecting Communities: Using Information to Drive Change."

The UMI Forum 2007 will focus on how information drives changes to facilitate connections and community change.


Confirmed Keynotes:
Anthony D. Williams, co-author of Wikinomics
Eugene "Gus" Newport, long-time community activist and former Mayor of Berkeley CA
  • Connect with peers to trade insights on common information challenges and barriers.
  • Discover new datasets & tools that will help you better understand and react to change.
  • Learn about innovative and effective uses of information to drive markets in local urban neighborhoods, cities, and regions.
  • Understand how others have created cultures of collaboration, innovation, vision, and success to increase effectiveness.
  • Recharge with the information, connections and tools you need to achieve change in your community.

Register now to take advantage of the Early Bird Special
REGISTER TODAY

The Urban Markets Initiative (UMI) at the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program aims to improve he quality of the information available on urban communities and use it to unleash the full power of those markets while connecting them to the economic mainstream. http://www.brookings.edu/metro/umi.htm

Read more ...

Defining "Community Indicators"

I thought it might be useful to discuss what this blog means by "community indicators", since the blogosphere is tagging two separate-but-related items with community_indicators tags.

This blog is generally concerned with indicators of geography-based communities -- neighborhoods, municipalities, counties, regions, states, nations, groups of nations, etc. -- and their characteristics. I went to MetaGlossary for their definitions, and was struck by the one used in the Tasmania Together initial report, since adopted in community indicator projects throughout Australia, such as here in the Waverley Community Indicators and Local Democracy Project:

Indicators developed through a community-based process in which local citizens determine the key areas of concern and set standards for improvements in their community over time. Community indicators don’t just measure conditions; they are designed to monitor progress in achieving community goals. The indicators can be measures of the progress of social, environmental or economic well being.

Our Canadian friends have a simpler definition used by the First Nations Community Planning Group:

Measures created and used by communities for understanding and drawing attention to important issues and trends. Useful for building awareness and taking action.

These are the kinds of definitions used by the good folks at the International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) or the Community Indicators Consortium.

But out here on the internet, a new kind of community has been growing -- the online community. And leading the charge to develop indicators of the online community has been Nancy White. She started this discussion two years ago this month, with this blog post.

Somewhere, these two discussions -- indicators of the online community, and indicators of the geographic community -- intersect. Both are looking for good measures of engagement and social capital, as a starting point. We geography-oriented folks have a larger data set to choose from as we look at the quality-of-life measures and sustainability in a geography, but perhaps more and more of those measures may be applied to the online community discussion.

Right now, however, the intersection points of the two discussions may not be as clear as Nancy laid it out. However, I think the two conversations can learn from each other and support each other.

So if you found this blog while looking for a very different kind of discussion based on a technorati tag, please stick around and contribute -- we'd love to hear from you.

Read more ...

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Sobering Look at Social Indicators in Burma

Many of us who work with social indicators do so in a context of equity -- helping the ones left out of general social progress. But around the globe, different peoples have different experiences, and some of the social indicators used are sobering in themselves, even before we examine the data.

Kyi May Kaung uses a new social indicators report, the Failed States Index from The Fund for Peace", to tell the story of the people of Burma.

Her article on Burma begins this way:

Last year (2006) my country of origin, Burma, was number 18 on the list of Most (Worst) Failed States in the world. This year it is number 14th. Can the military junta that rules it so tightly, do nothing but make it “advance” on indicators that show how awful it is?The topmost block of indicators in a list totaling 177 countries blares at you from a bright red alert background color. Next comes orange and then, lowest on the scale, which is the best in this case, a cool color – green.

So how does the Fund for Peace measure all this, and what does it take account of? So which are the two worst places, with the most failed states? Your guess is absolutely right and they are – Sudan and Iraq. Daily media images confirm this. But wait a minute, how do we exactly measure Sudan and Iraq against each other? It’s done by using social, economic and political indicators, and in this case it is not a statistical sleight of hand.


Read the article, then think about your community and what you're measuring. Do you have a measure on "chronic and sustained human flight"? "Widespread violation of human rights"?

Look back at The Fund for Peace's map of the world -- there's a lot of work ahead.

And that's a hard message for a Monday morning.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

EurLife Quality of Life Indicators Database Updated

The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions sent out a news release that caught my eye.

EurLife database of quality of life indicators: The database, which deals with the objective living conditions and subjective well-being of European citizens, has been updated. New indicators have been added, as well as data for more recent years. National coverage has been expanded to include the 27 EU Member States and Turkey. The database will be updated again in 2008 with results from the second European Quality of Life Survey.

So I went and checked out the information provided in their database. I found it surprisingly useful. In the health domain, for example, I looked up infant mortality. I found the rates in tabular format, 1990-2005, for each country in Europe plus an EU-15 and EU-25 rate. Some of the data points were unavailable, but the chart was sufficiently complete to see the incredible progress Turkey, Romania, and Hungary have made. (The descriptor of the measure was perhaps a little blunt -- yes, you are measuring dead babies, but still ....)

The links to the data sources were also helpful. There's a nice selection of data -- besides the Health element, there's Employment, Income Deprivation, Education, Family, Social Participation, Housing, Environment, Transport, Safety, Leisure, and Life Satisfaction. The last indicator is "Happiness", which is an interesting one to include with some of the other, more concrete measures.

The Environment indicators took me by surprise. This is about your living environment, the built environment, and only a little about the natural environment -- not whether the natural ecosystems are necessarily healthy, but whether you experience pollution or complain about the quality of the drinking water or complain about the lack of greenspace. The other environment indicators measure things like the distance to a cash machine, cinema, supermarket, nursery, or primary school, as well as the state of repair of the buildings near you.

The Social Participation indicators were a nice mix of involvement and social capital, including voting, participation in a series of activities, organizational membership, and involvement with neighbors. The leisure measures were also fun.

So take a look at the data -- even if you're not measuring indicators in Europe, you may find the data interesting for comparative purposes or to spark ideas about how to better measure the quality of life in your own community.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Sustainability Blog

Curt Rosengren at Passion Catalyst International hosts a blog called The Sustainable Future. I'd like to direct your attention to the blog if you're interested in sustainability, and steer you to a couple of recent posts about community indicators around this concept of creating a sustainable future.

His post this month on Sustainable Community Indicators references Maureen Hart's work with Sustainable Measures. (You'll remember this earlier discussion of how Connecticut is using her work.) I like the way Curt leads into the conversation around indicators:

I think the sustainable transformation that needs to happen is going to do so at the individual and community level.

One of the challenges in developing a sustainable approach is taking it out of the abstract and into the tangible. It's nice to have a high-minded philosophy of sustainability, but what does that mean when the rubber meets the road, and how do you implement it?


This is a follow-on discussion to his earlier blog about The Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators, which are another important foundational framework for community indicators conversations. If you aren't familiar with the Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators or with the rest of Hazel Henderson's work you owe it to yourself to take some time to dive into this re-envisioning of the future.

Here's Curt's description of why this is important:

Part of the reason the world is in such a mess is an over-focus on the financial as the sole measurement of how we're doing.

If we're going to make different decisions to build a sustainable future, we have to recognize that we're operating in a holistic, interconnected system and take into account a much wider range of factors.


If we in the indicators world are going to do a better job in story-telling and engaging people around indicators to bring about community change, we're going to need to pay attention to those who are passionate about community change who discover indicators -- the recently-converted, as it were, can help us use better language to describe the critically of measures of progress as part of any effort to transform community.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

The Role of Data Intermediaries in Policy

I was reading an interesting blog article on "using research for policy and practice." The blog, which is associated with the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA), begins with this question:

Are you doing enough to learn from research? A common theme from several recent events and meetings I’ve attended is research and using evidence in policy.

The author then makes the case that lots and lots of research is being done, and that information exists which should be informing public policy and practice. However, too often decisions are made without the benefit of that research.

He continues the discussion this way:

[T]here’s also an important role for intermediary bodies – like think tanks, professional bodies, consultants and of course the IDeA – whose job it is to keep on top of current thinking and feed it either directly to authorities or indirectly through new policy. The trick here is knowing which intermediaries to go to for which information. There’s also a role for networks, such as this one, where people can keep each other informed of the best places for information.

The challenge in linking data intermediaries (who gather together the research and data into some sort of comprehensible format) with policy makers (who don't generally have a lot of time that they've made available to read and digest the information themselves) is perhaps a critical one if we expect good policy. Likewise, the role of data intermediaries in gathering the information and making it available and accessible to the public so that people can be engaged and informed about community issues is similarly critical in the functioning of democratic societies, which require an engaged citizenry to ensure policy-making accountability.

So how do we who create community indicator reports and bring together the data do a better job in workinig with decision makers and the public in informing policy and practice? And how do we who do this work engage better in networks and communities of practice to help each other become more effective in this work?

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Thursday, August 9, 2007

Using Walk Score as a Neighborhood Indicator

Thanks to an article from the folks at the Metro Jacksonville blog, I've got a new toy to play with when looking at neighborhood indicators. The website they pointed out is called Walk Score, and it generates a number (1-100) of how walkable a neighborhood is based on the amenities around it, including stores, restaurants, schools, parks, and so on. The methodology of how it works (and, greatly appreciated, how it doesn't work is provided on the site.

You can generate Walk Scores by plugging in any address in the United States, Canada, and the U.K. The folks at Metro Jacksonville did this to calculate the Walk Scores for areas surrounding the City Halls of America's largest cities. (Austin, New York, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh all had perfect scores; Jacksonville scored 88/100.)

Jim Benson's article on neighborhood livability helps explain the importance of walkability in neighborhoods. It's a follow-on to his explanation of Walk Score, which deserves reading as well. And since he appears to know what he's talking about (having been a growth management planner in Portland, which did a much better job of getting it right than many other cities I've lived in), let me direct you to his analysis of what Walk Score needs to make it much better:

I love the academic exercise in Walkscore. I also love the promise of being able to analyze neighborhoods for how inherently livable they are - as opposed to merely how deceivingly cheap the land is.

Walkscore has a ways to go before it's really complete. A complete analysis like this will include things like:

  • Topography
  • Average speeds on roadways
  • locations of pedestrian crossings
  • average daily traffic on the roadways
  • existence of on-street parking
  • traffic calming measures
  • whether the amenities being walked to are on the street or behind a sea of parking
  • trees
  • parks
  • specific ped-friendly points (benches, coffee shops, places to rest)
  • weather
  • pedestrian barriers (freeways, dangerous places, etc.)

Having said all this, Walkscore is already an excellent tool to demonstrate the hidden costs of living in the suburbs.

This could be an interesting measure for neighborhood indicator projects. How would you use it for neighborhood assessment and planning? How could you get beyond a static number score for a more interesting neighborhood display? Has anyone used this tool before?

(Thanks to the Sightline Institute for supporting Walk Score.)

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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Triple Bottom Lines and Community Indicators

Triple Bottom Lines are efforts to include an "environmental bottom line" and a "social bottom line" to the financial bottom line companies report to their stakeholders. This usually results in companies measuring their environmental and community impacts in addition to reporting their profit/loss statements.

The triple bottom line approach (or TBL+1 now) is gaining currency among corporations. See the Global Sustainability Institute's TBL+1 website for more information.

The approach is not without its critics, especially as corporations try to illustrate what they're talking about with incomprehensible graphics. However, the number of corporations paying attention to their social and environment accountability is increasing, as illustrated in the recent KPMG report (worth taking a look.)

TBL is also gaining some currency among local governments. A good example is the work being done by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability (was International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives.) The goal of their triple bottom line program is, in their own words:

The aim of the Triple Bottom Line Capacity Building Program (TBL Program) is to provide a cost-effective solution for councils to incorporate sustainability and triple bottom line principles into the planning, decision-making and reporting practices of local government.

Sounds interesting, doesn't it? Here's a set of triple bottom line taxonomies for those who want to explore the concept further.

For community indicator efforts, TBL efforts provide another way to think about how to integrate a range of information in describing community progress. Government performance benchmarks are important data sets that overlap into the community indicators realm. TBLs are another.

How has your community integrated triple bottom line measures into your indicators of progress? Has your organization adopted a triple bottom line approach to your annual report?

Note: this blog entry began as a response to this discussion at TakingItGlobal.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Data Discussions

With the growth of innovative technologies, opportunities to connect with people and discuss interesting topics keep expanding. For those of us who find data discussions fascinating, here are some of the types of places I've been noticing where people are talking about data.

Swivel: Swivel groups form around shared data sets (or sets of sets). The It's Official! group is a pretty good example of what this means: The group, created last week by United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), "aims to improve communication between users and producers of official statistics. Producers are invited to show their wares, particularly any new or innovative data. Users, please let us know what you think about our products, and what sort of data you really need." Check it out and add your input to the discussion.

Many Eyes: Many Eyes has topic hubs that include discussions, visualizations, and data sets. An example of this is the topic hub around global warming: here's an opportunity to look at data, reshape it into graphs, and talk to others interested in the data and its presentation.

What other discussion groups do you participate in that include conversations around data, indicators, and statistics?

On a separate subject, take a look at the 16 data visualization tools (plus a few more in the comments section) in this article -- really interesting stuff. Let me know if you have others to add, or can figure out how to use one of these tools in a community indicator project.

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Community Indicators in Philadelphia

W.C. Fields proposed the following epitaph: "Here lies W. C. Fields. I would rather be living in Philadelphia" -- which never made it onto his headstone, but became a catchphrase used in books, blogs, and even by a President narrowly missing assassination.

So naturally the phrase came to mind when I saw the release of Where We Stand: Community Indicators for Metropolitan Philadelphia, put together by a team at Temple University, including Carolyn Adams, David Bartelt and Mark Mattson of geography and urban studies; David Elesh of sociology; Ralph Taylor of criminal justice; and Leonard LoSciuto and Peter Mulcahy of Temple’s Institute for Survey Research.

Here are a couple of interesting quotes about the project:

“This is the first comprehensive compilation of data about the region at the municipal, rather than county, level,” Provost Ira M. Schwartz said. “There are 353 municipalities and 196 school districts in this region. As a result, many policies and decisions are made at the local rather than regional level. These findings could form a basis for thinking and acting as a region about shared challenges and opportunities.”

“These findings, which will be updated annually, will be invaluable to researchers, civic and political leaders, and anyone else working to improve the quality of life in greater Philadelphia,” added Kathryn J. Engebretson, president of the William Penn Foundation, which funded the study with a three-year, $1.27 million grant.

In addition to the report, the MPIP folks have a series of focus reports on issues such as housing, youth, and job growth.

There are many good things about this report. The web-based presentation is easy to follow. The information is clear and easy to understand.

But I think the report misses an opportunity to move the conversation forward. In the section on diversity, the authors look at residential segregation patterns and income disparities by race and ethnicity. The sequence of reports and indicators, however, rely almost entirely on Census 2000 data to make the case that "Like many of its peer regions, the greater Philadelphia region no longer conforms to the conventional view of central cities as "melting pots," surrounded by homogeneous suburbs."

But better data, and more current data, exist to go beyond 2000 Census data to examine what's been happening in urban centers and suburbs, especially in housing, income, and employment, with regards to racial and ethnic disparities in the post-9/11, post-dot-com-bubble, post-housing bubble economy. If the indicators are to drive local and regional policy decisions, some understanding of what's happening with immigration, suburban sprawl, and job displacement as it relates to these disparities ought to be considered. The focus series notes the shift in population from the urban center and the movement of job opportunities, but misses the chance to explore who's moving out and who's working where in order to see the impact on residential segregation and income differences.

For housing data, I recommend http://www.dataplace.org/ -- the HMDA data provide fascinating insights into what's going on in the housing markets. At the very least, the American Community Survey datasets provide updated information on income, earnings, and poverty status by race and ethnicity.

And other data sets exist, some locally-generated and others measured at the state level, to understand what's really happening in a community around issues of racial disparities and diversity. It's worth checking the data to see if the conclusions drawn off of 2000 data still reflect today's realities.

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Monday, August 6, 2007

Community Indicators Consortium August Newsletter

The Community Indicators Consortium has released their August 2007 newsletter (PDF). The newsletter contains the following:

  • Letter from the President, Allen Lomax, calling for increased involvement from those in the indicators field to work together to build a network of practitioners and interested parties;
  • A report from Alex Michalos on his involvement with the OECD World Forum, the presentation he gave, and his reactions to the Istanbul Declaration;
  • An article by Lisa Capoccia on the growth of the Toronto Vital Signs model throughout Canada, with 11 cities scheduled to release their own Vital Signs report this October;
  • A write-up of the Inland Northwest conference on community indicators;
  • A link to the new CIC paper, “Creating Stronger Linkages between Community
    Indicator Projects and Government Performance Measures”, available on the CIC website (PDF);
  • Upcoming conferences and events dealing with community indicators; and
  • A call for articles for future newsletters.

Check it out! If you're not a member of the Community Indicators Consortium, consider joining.

Read more ...

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Humor Through Graphs

All right, it's time for another installment of indicators humor -- for those of us who chuckle at this sort of thing.

Graphs can be funny. The classic example is this one:

Pacman graph

A humorous graph designed to make a point and spur change can be found at the Flying Spaghetti Monster site:


Pirates graph

For a series of graph-related humor, check out the Indexed blog -- here's a sample:
Indexed blog

Also click here for a graph that purports to show Wayne's World movie and TV viewings and Bohemian Rhapsody-related car accidents.

What are your favorite graphs that make you smile?

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Friday, August 3, 2007

Measuring Poverty, Part III

We've been discussing the issues around measuring poverty here and here. Poverty is a critical issue -- in the US, we've been fighting a War on Poverty for over 40 years -- but we still haven't figured out how to define what it is we're fighting.

The National Human Services Assembly reports on the attempts this week to get closer to a shared measurement tool for poverty:

On August 1, the House Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support held “Measuring Poverty in America,” to explore how the federal government measures poverty and potential alternatives to the current formula. Representatives and panelists agreed that the current official poverty measure -- based on 1960s estimates of food consumption -- is outdated and does not accurately indicate the cash and non-cash means available to families. However, panelists disagreed as to what the US official poverty measure should be, and how income, in particular, should be defined.

In their coverage of the issue, the National Assembly reports:

Absolute measures of poverty, such as the current US official measure, are ones that attempt to define a truly basic – absolute -- needs standard that is only updated for inflation. Relative measures, however, explicitly define poverty as a condition of comparative disadvantage, to be assessed against some evolving standard of living. Patricia Ruggles (National Academy of Sciences) testified in support of a hybrid measure of poverty, arguing that poverty thresholds must reflect current consumption needs. Failure to adjust such thresholds, she contested, would significantly undercount the numbers of those living in poverty. In determining what should be counted as income, she stated that policymakers must first ask what the poverty line seeks to measure.

To access witnesses’ testimony, please click here: http://waysandmeans.house.gov/hearings.asp?formmode=detail&hearing=581

In your community indicators efforts, how do you measure poverty?

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Call for Chapters - ISQOLS book

ISQOLS (the International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies - www.isqols.org - is asking for chapter submissions for their upcoming book, Community Quality-of-Life Indicators: Best Practices IV.

Volume Focus: This volume will publish best practices of community quality-of-life indicators projects. The first volume was published by Kluwer Academic Publishers in 2004 (edited by M. Joseph Sirgy, Don Rahtz, and Dong-Jin Lee). The second volume was published by Springer Publishers in 2006 (edited by M. Joseph Sirgy, Don Rahtz, and David Swain). The third volume was published by the International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (edited by M. Joseph Sirgy, Rhonda Phillips, and Don Rahtz). See TOC of the first three volumes below. For the fourth volume, we are seeking excellent case studies that can be used by community planners and others as good examples or "prototypes" of community quality-of-life indicator projects. Papers dealing with theoretical issues in planning, developing, and using community quality-of-life indicators are not suitable for this volume. Instead, they should be sent for review and possible publication in Social Indicators Research (SIR) or Applied Research in Quality-of-Life (ARQOL).
Volume Editors: M. Joseph Sirgy (Virginia Tech), Rhonda Phillips (University of Florida), and Don Rahtz (College of William and Mary)


Submission Deadline: September 30th, 2007

Submit to:
M. Joseph Sirgy
Department of Marketing
Pamplin College of Business
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061-0236
USA

Tel: 540.231.5110
Fax: 540.231.3076
E-mail: sirgy@vt.edu

Submission Guidelines:

  • The paper should be typed in either Arial or Times Roman, font size 10-12 with a margin of 1 inch on all sides.
  • The paper should be typed either 1½ or double-spaced.
  • Paper length should not exceed 30 pages in total including references, tables, and figures.
  • Reference style: American Psychological Association (APA) style is preferred.
  • E-mail attachment is the preferred mode of submission. Submit paper electronically to sirgy@vt.edu .
  • All submissions should be original and not previously published. The submitted paper should not be submitted simultaneously to other publication outlets.

Guidelines for Paper Selection and Final Manuscript Preparation:

  • Each paper will be subjected to a review by 2-3 referees who are experts in the field.
  • The editors in consultation with the referees will make the final decision concerning acceptance or rejection.
  • Notification of acceptance or rejection will be sent out by the end of November 2007.
  • It is very likely that the editors will request changes to the accepted papers based on the reviewers’ suggestions. These changes should be completed by the end of February 2008.
  • Publication of the book is expected in late Spring, 2008 by the International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (see www.isqols.org).

Table of Contents: Community Quality-of-Life Indicators: Best Cases edited by M. Joseph Sirgy, Don Rahtz, and Dong-Jin Lee published by Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2004
ISBN: 1-4020-2201-8
Acknowledgements
Chapter 1: Vital Signs: Quality-of-Life Indicators for Virginia’s Technology Corridor by Terri Lynn Cornwell
Chapter 2: The Sustainable Community Model Approach to the Development and Use of Multi-dimensional Quality-of-Life Indicators by William T.
Grunkemeyer and Myra L. Moss
Chapter 3: Taking Indicators to the Next Level: Truckee meadows Tomorrow Launches Quality-of-Life Compacts by Karen Barsell and Elisa Maser
Chapter 4: A Collaborative Approach to Developing and Using Quality-of-Life Indicators in New Zealand’s Largest Cities by Kath Jamieson
Chapter 5: 2002 Hennepin County Community Indicators Report: Aligning Community Indicators with Government Mission, Vision and Overarching Goals by Misty Lee Heggeness, Paul Buschmann, and Thomas Walkington
Chapter 6: The State of the City of Amsterdam Monitor: measuring Quality of Life in Amsterdam by Peggy Schyns and Jeroen Boelhower
Chapter 7: A Three-decade Comparison of Residents’ Opinions and Beliefs about Life in Genesee County, Michigan by Robin Widgery
Chapter 8: Creating an Index to Evaluate a Region’s Competitiveness by Beth Jorosz and Michael Williams
Chapter 9: Toward a Social Development Index for Hong Kong: The Process of Community Engagement by Richard J. Estes
Chapter 10: measuring Sustainability and Quality-of-Life in the City of Zurich by Marco Keiner, Barbara Schultz, and Willy A. Schmid

Table of Contents: Community Quality-of-Life Indicators: Best Cases II edited by M. Joseph Sirgy, Don Rahtz, and David Swain published by Springer, 2006
ISBN: 1-4020-4624-3
Chapter 1: The Jacksonville, Florida Experience by J. Benjamin Warner
Chapter 2: The Boston Indicators Project by Charlotte Kahn
Chapter 3: Indicators in Action: The Use of Sustainability Indicators in the City of Santa Monica by Genevieve Bertone, Shannon Clements, Dean Kubani, Jennifer Wolch
Chapter 4: A Measure and Method to Assess Subjective Community Quality-of-life by M. Joseph Sirgy and Don Rahtz
Chapter 5: Perception and Evaluation of the Quality of Life in Florence, Italy by Filomena Maggino
Chapter 6: City of Winnipeg Quality of Life Indicators by Peter Hardi and Lazslo Pinter
Chapter 7: Sustainable Seattle: The Case of the Prototype Sustainability Indicators Project by Meg Holden
Chapter 8: Using Community Indicators to Improve the Quality of Life for
Children: The Sacramento County (CA) Children’s Report Card by Nancy Findeisen
Chapter 9: Living in a Post-apartheid City: A Baseline Survey of Quality of Life in Buffalo City by Robin Richards and Ellen Kamman
Chapter 10: Making Community Indicators Accessible through the Census Information Center: Howard University, Portals to the Community, and the New American University by Rodney Green, Maybelle T. Bennett, Haydar Kurban, Lorenzo Morris, and Charles C. Verharen
Chapter 11: Quality Indicators for Progress: A Guide to Community Quality-of-life Assessments by Marian Chambers and David Swain

Table of Contents: Community Quality-of-Life Indicators: Best Practices III edited by M. Joseph Sirgy, Rhonda Phillips, and Don R. Rahtz published by International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, 2007
Preface
Chapter 1: Connecting Outcomes to Indicators: The Santa Cruz County California Community Assessment Project (CAP) by DEANNA ZACHARY
Chapter 2: Pace of Life and Quality of Life: The Slow City Charter by HEIKE MAYER and PAUL KNOX
Chapter 3: The Clark County Monitoring System – An Early Warning Indicator System for Clark County Nevada by SHEILA CONWAY, JEREMY AGUERO, and IRENE NAVIS
Chapter 4: Evaluating Progress toward Sustainable Development in Milwaukee’s Menomonee River Valley: Linking Brownfield’s Redevelopment with Community Quality-of-Life by CHRISTOPHER A. DESOUSA, BENJAMIN GRAMLING, and KEVIN LEMOINE
Chapter 5: Examining the Spatial Distribution of Urban Indicators in São Paulo, Brazil: Do Spatial Effects Matter? By MÔNICA HADDAD
Chapter 6: Quality of life & Cultural Diversity in Peel Region (Ontario,
Canada) by SRIMANTA MOHANTY
Chapter 7: Measuring Quality of Life in Canadian Municipalities by JOHN BURRETT
Chapter 8: The Indices of Community Well-being for Calgary Community
Districts: A Neighborhood-Based Approach to Quality of Life Reporting by DEREK COOK and JOHN TE LINDE
Bibliographic Resources

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Measuring Rural Education

The National Center for Education Statistics has issued a new report, Status of Education in Rural America. In the section called Measuring Rural Education, they discuss the research and reasons for a new classification system to understand rural schools. The list of tables gives you direct access to the data in the report.

Highlights from the report include the following:

  • In 2003-04, over half of all operating school districts and one-third of all public schools in the United States were in rural areas; yet only one-fifth of all public school students were enrolled in rural areas.
  • A larger percentage of rural public school students in the 4th- and 8th-grades scored at or above the Proficient level on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading, mathematics, and science assessments in 2005 than did public school students in cities at these grade levels. However, smaller percentages of rural public school students than suburban public school students scored at or above the Proficient level in reading and mathematics.
  • Current public school expenditures per student were higher in rural areas in 2003-04 than in any other locale after adjusting for geographic cost differences.
  • In 2004, the high school status dropout rate (i.e., the percentage of persons not enrolled in school and not having completed high school) among 16- to 24-year-olds in rural areas was higher than in suburban areas, but lower than in cities.

While you're at the NCES site, be sure to check out the 2006 Digest of Education Statistics, just released on July 26. The latest reports and data from NCES can be found here. Don't miss the international education indicators either.

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