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 Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

PolicyMap.Com Unveils Version 2.0

I just received a press release from PolicyMap that the readers of this blog might be interested in.

TRF’s Unveils Version 2.0
Upgraded Online Mapping Site Lets Users Layer and Compare Data

(Philadelphia) May 12, 2009 – TRF’s today unveiled version 2.0. The newest version of this revolutionary website provides quick and flexible analysis of neighborhood-level data nationwide. At subscribers’ fingertips now are answers to questions relevant to job training (e.g. Where are neighborhoods with low educational attainment rates and low household incomes, but close to mass transit?), housing (e.g. Where are high poverty areas in close proximity to a mass transit stop and in good school districts?), energy (e.g. Where are stable communities with high utility costs, potentially most in need of home weatherization assistance?) and more.

With 2.0, professionals are now able to match and compare up to three custom criteria for any neighborhood in the nation. The PolicyMap upgrade is a major breakthrough, making good on PolicyMap’s promise to empower policymakers and professionals with handy access to reliable market and demographic data and analytical tools in a single Web-based location.

With 2.0, those involved in deciding where and how to spend unprecedented stimulus dollars or foundations deciding how to allocate limited resources have a quick and flexible tool for searching for those neighborhoods where intervention could matter most.

“With the introduction of PolicyMap Analytics, TRF’s can reshape how policymakers use data and maps to understand the markets in which they work,” said Jeremy Nowak, President of TRF. “PolicyMap is the simple, fast, and efficient platform that many are demanding to guide policy decisions and help strategically allocate resources.”

PolicyMap subscribers can find those neighborhoods that meet up to three criteria from more than 4,000 data indicators related to demographics, real estate markets, education, employment, money and income, crime, energy, and public investments. TRF aggregates data from a variety of public and private sources including U.S. Census, Claritas, FBI, IRS, the Postal Service, and the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. Additional PolicyMap 2.0 functionality lets users rank data, download public datasets and provides for an extraordinary level of customization.

“PolicyMap offers tools both for us as the investor and for the organizations that we support, offering both of us the detailed neighborhood data to plan for real impact," said Lois Greco, Senior Vice President and Evaluation Officer, Wachovia Regional Foundation.

Nearly 150,000 people have used PolicyMap since the site launched just under a year ago. To date, PolicyMap has more than 11,000 registered users. Its varied subscribers include the Federal Reserve of Philadelphia, foundations such as the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, public agencies including the New Jersey Housing Mortgage Finance Agency, private entities like Comcast as well as nonprofit community organizations nationwide. PolicyMap is a 2009 finalist for CNET’s Webware100 award.

About TRF’s
PolicyMap is an online mapping tool that makes it quick and easy to gather and analyze geocentric information. PolicyMap is a service of The Reinvestment Fund (TRF), a not-for-profit leader in the financing of neighborhood revitalization. TRF developed PolicyMap to empower decision makers with better access to credible market and demographic data. To see how PolicyMap Analytics works, check out To learn more about PolicyMap, visit To learn more about TRF, visit


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