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 Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Community Indicators Down Under

Here's an update from the Metroblogging Melbourne (Australia) blog on the Community Indicators Victoria project.

The project measures down to separate suburban communities a wide range of measures, including "health, wellbeing, social support, volunteers, child health, perceptions of safety, crime, home internet access, food security, adequate work-life balance, transport limitations" and more.

The Bendigo Advertiser reported the results of the project as follows:

McCaughey Centre director John Wiseman said that despite the low national unemployment rate, low inflation and high consumer confidence, the number of people who could not afford food indicated a more comprehensive measurement of a community's wellbeing was needed.

Professor Wiseman said the new research resource aimed to include social, environmental, and cultural factors as well as economic data to create a picture of how our communities were progressing.

He said the Community Indicator project would create a more comprehensive picture of every local government area in Victoria, in order to raise the level of community debate on mental health and community wellbeing and help governments make better decisions.

The project launched yesterday by the McCaughey Centre, a combined VicHealth and Melbourne University organisation, will be regularly updated and provide data by municipality on a wide range of wellbeing issues include housing affordability, financial stress and unemployment, as well as indicators for other factors such as alcohol consumption, domestic violence, illicit drug use, obesity, exercise and fruit and vegetable intake.

I checked out some of the suburb-level, metro, and non-metro reports with great interest, after having not only visited Melbourne (and Bendigo and some of the other areas) last summer, but also watching the 2000 Essendon finals in AFL just yesterday with relatives just back from the area.

The scope of the project is exciting, and the web-based interface simple to navigate. I suggest watching this effort with great interest.


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