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 Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.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, June 14, 2011

SA 2020 Update

On March 19, we completed the first phase of the SA 2020 process with a public release and written report (available here.)  It was an amazing experience as the people of San Antonio came together to reach a shared vision for the future, develop metrics (community indicators) to measure their progress, and commit to action to reach their goals. (Pictured is the December forum where the groups determined their key indicators they would like to see measured in each of the themes of the report.)

The SA 2020 initiative focused on what San Antonio could look like in the year 2020, and enjoyed both wide community participation and widespread support.  Of particular interest to those who might be considering similar initiatives in their communities, Mayor Julián Castro focused on the SA 2020 initiative as a key feature of his first term in office, and was re-elected with 82 percent of the vote.

The work on implementing SA 2020 continues. This week, Mayor Castro briefed the White House on SA2020 and its goals, adding: SA 2020 "produced specific marks for the community to meet," Castro said. “That has value as other communities look to develop plans.”

I'm reminded of what Becky Morgan, of the Morgan Family Foundation, said while introducing an indicator report they supported:

In a time when our neighbors listen to elected officials or other established leaders and wonder who to believe, indicator reports serve as a civic-based tool to re-build this country’s social capital … our trust in each other, our willingness to find common vision and values, our engagement in collaborative civic work to solve problems that confront us. But most of all, they help to build a commitment to stewardship, to pass along to our children and grandchildren a country of many regions that are much improved over those left to us. Such commitment to progress is also a commitment to measure our progress … honestly and with open hearts and minds. This is the promise of the regional indicator movement in our state and our country.

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