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 Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.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 5, 2007

Citizen Engagement

One of the unique (and powerful) factors involved in community indicators is the citizen engagement in defining and users the indicators for community change. There's a fascinating intersection between data people and deliberative dialogue people in this field.

A useful resource for public deliberation and citizen engagement work is the IBM Center for The Business of Government report, "Public Deliberation: A Manager’s Guide to Citizen Engagement." In this report, Carolyn Lukensmeyer and Lars Hasselblad Torres describe a changing landscape in how citizens are becoming more involved in government, world wide. They describe a shift from the traditional "information exchange" to an "information processing" model of engagement, where citizens are no longer just consumers of government programs and policies but actively engage in shaping them. They describe a spectrum of citizen engagement models, ranging from the traditional approach of informing citizens of planned efforts, all the way to empowering citizens to directly make decisions.

Lukensmeyer and Torres provide a series of examples of how some cutting-edge citizen engagement model work, both face-to-face, and on-line. For example, in some communities in Brazil, citizens vote on how some budget items are to be spent in their neighborhoods. They conclude with recommendations to both agency leaders and governmentwide policymakers, recommending the creation of "champions" to review existing potential bureaucratic barriers to the use of these cutting-edge tools and to serve as advocates for their use in large-scale initiatives.

Lukensmeyer Report:

IBM's Center for The Business of Government at:


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