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.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Urban Markets Initiative at Brookings Launches New Website

I received this invitation from Norris Dickard of the Metropolitan Policy Program, Urban Markets Institute over at the Brookings Institution. You may want to check it out.

I hope that you will join the Metropolitan Policy Program’s Urban Markets Initiative (UMI) as we host a demonstration of a new interactive mapping website for the Housing & Transportation Affordability Index, developed by the Center for Neighborhood Technology in collaboration with UMI. A panel discussion on transportation and affordable housing will follow.

The event will take place April 9, 2008, 9:00 – 10:30am., at the Brookings Institution (1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW) in Washington, D.C.With the availability of affordable housing a formidable obstacle for many Americans, it is imperative that homeowners understand the full cost implications of location in the purchase of a home – that buying in outlying suburbs without access to public transportation, requiring a long commute by car, may not necessarily afford them the cost savings they envisioned.

The traditional measure of housing affordability used by planners and lenders states that a household should spend no more than 30 percent of its income on housing. In contrast, the new Housing and Transportation Affordability Index takes into account not just the cost of housing, but housing and the transportation costs associated with its location. The Center for Neighborhood Technology’s research shows that the cost of transportation can vary from 14% of a the average household’s budget in compact transit-rich communities, to 28% or more in less dense areas far from employment and other amenities. Working families have a greater burden – for some transportation costs may approach 50% of their household income.

Better information on the combined costs of housing and transportation by location must be made available, as more knowledge about transportation costs will lead to greater understanding that the cost of living is much higher than it needs to be.The index models neighborhood-level data for 52 different metropolitan areas across the United States and presents it in an interactive, online mapping application which can be used by individuals, urban planners, and transportation and housing advocates to support improved decision-making and analysis.

The event will include a demonstration of the new website by Dr. Peter Haas, PhD of CNT followed by a panel discussion moderated by me, and featuring Scott Bernstein, President of Center for Neighborhood Technology, Conrad Egan, President & CEO of the National Housing Conference, and Mariia Zimmerman, Vice President for Policy of Reconnecting America, followed by ample time for audience questions.

Drop me an e-mail if you need more information and I'll connect you with the RSVP/contact information. I'll post the website after the launch.

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