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.

This is an archive of thoughts I had about indicators and the community indicators movement. Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Queensland Happiness Index?

This month has required (and will continue to require) a great deal of travel, and my laptop blew up on Tuesday -- got it fixed, but it's slowed down the frequency of postings to this blog. The good news is we're still committed to providing you all the news and updates about what's happening in the world of community indicators that pass across our desk.

We've talked about Bhutan's Gross National Happiness Index several times. Now Geoff Woolcock, at Griffith University in Australia, is leading an effort to create a Queensland Happiness Index.

After a quick headline-grabbing reference to a "smile-ometer," the Courier Mail quotes Professor Woolcock as saying,

"An effective community indicators system that monitors the sense of community and belonging, quality of collective life and, more broadly, human rights and equity is more likely to produce policies that reflect what matters to most people."

In conversations with the good folks at the New Economics Foundation, they talked about how they're trying to take their communities from a conversation about happiness to exploring sustainability. Real community happiness, they suggest, will only come about when we protect the environment and think of sustainability as a key factor in our quality of life. Our community, on the other hand, began with quality of life (specifically and intentionally focusing on the external environments and not on happiness), and is moving from sustainability conversations to those of happiness.

I'd be interested in hearing from your experiences in your community. Do you talk about happiness much, as part of a community indicators project? Do measures of happiness fall within your assessment/indicators framework? If not, are you getting closer to those discussions?

Drop me a line and let me know. It would make me happy ....


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