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 Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.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, April 26, 2007

Community Indicators Conference in Spokane

If you haven't been following the story in the news feed (on the left on this blog's home page), The Spokesman Review has been reporting on a conference on community indicators held at Eastern Washington University Wednesday, April 18, 2007. The conference highlighted the Spokane Community Indicators Initiative and brought "local, regional, and national speakers for a one-day even to showcase indicators in action." Charlotte Kahn, from the Boston Indicators Project, was the keynote speaker.

There's a write-up (quoting the Spokesman Review story) on EWU's blog. It's an interesting view of indicators from someone not working in the field, and worth a look.

My favorite quote about the community indicators project comes from Patrick Jones, from the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Analysis at EWU, who said to the Spokesman's reporter:

"If we, as a community, don't do much with all this knowledge," Jones wrote, "It will be a major opportunity lost."

One of the aspects I like about the indicators project is its links to other projects -- as you remember from a previous post, these lists can be invaluable when you're searching for a measurement that keeps eluding your grasp. Plus they link to my organization, which shows impeccable taste. Thanks, Patrick.

The other aspect I really like isn't who the project links to, but who links to them. The City of Spokane Office of Neighborhood Services links to the community indictors project on their homepage, as one of their "most frequently requested links." SNAP -- Spokane Neighborhood Action Programs -- also links to the project. And so does Remi, who makes me feel really old and not hip. (Who would have dreamed that one day people would be linking to community indicators initiatives on the same page as links to Booty Go Thump or The Ballad of the Emo Kids?)

If you're checking, those are government, non-profit, and, um, "other" types of organizations linking to the same core set of information to know more about the community. And that's an exciting aspect of community indicators -- shared knowledge of community issues, leading to collective action and shared responsibility for change. What more could you want?


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