At Indicators Session Report-Out, you can see the working notes of a community indicators project being developed in Buffalo, New York. The actual project site is at creativelysustainable.com.
I enjoy seeing these projects in their development stages, before the shiny graphics and glossy report covers get put on. This is community organizing to determine what's important, finding ways to measure it, and then using those measures to make sustainable change for the future -- how wonderful!
The discussion they had highlighted a number of reasons why they felt community indicators were important:
- Increased community awareness
- Can’t improve what you can’t measure
- Can’t learn from the past if things are not recorded
- Can’t unite people if they don’t have similar understanding
- Helps to diffuse myths and misperceptions
- Let’s people have a way to know when to celebrate progress
- It improves decision making quality
Greensboro, also, developed a set of reasons why they needed a community indicators system:
The most important and compelling reason Greensboro should implement a Community Indicators System is that the Connections 2025 Comprehensive Plan specifically directs the City to "create an ongoing housing and neighborhood condition monitoring strategy" (Policy 6A.3). Beyond this mandate however, a Community Indicators System is a valuable tool for:
• Measuring quality of life;
• Monitoring provision of public services;
• Identifying disparities of opportunity; and
• Promoting responsive, accountable, effective, efficient, and equitable government.
Whatever the reasons, I like seeing more community projects grow. If you're in either the Buffalo or Greensboro areas, why don't you see if you can lend a hand to these efforts. If you're not, take a look at what they're doing and lend them your moral support -- this is important stuff we're doing!