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 Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.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 8, 2007

Telling a Story with Data

Check out Gretchen Schuldt's Milwaukee Blog for a great use of community indicators (in this case, for one zip code in Milwaukee) to tell a story about violence, schools, and community.

She says:

If you want to understand what is behind the violence that seems to in the Milwaukee Public Schools, read researcher Lois Quinn's "New Indicators of Neighborhood Need in Zipcode 53206." It's in there, behind that rather dry title.

The violence that is occuring in MPS is changing, which Sarah Carr is capturing in her series on school violence. It's not the number of incidents -- it's the degree of anger behind the incidents, the attacks on MPS staff, and the involvement of parents and other family members in fights.

What Quinn, senior scientist at UWM's Employment and Training Institute, shows clearly is that part of the city is falling apart, economically and socially.

She then quotes a series of indicators that add together to an inescapable conclusion: This part of the city is broken.

Check it out.


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