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 Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Sustainability Blog

Curt Rosengren at Passion Catalyst International hosts a blog called The Sustainable Future. I'd like to direct your attention to the blog if you're interested in sustainability, and steer you to a couple of recent posts about community indicators around this concept of creating a sustainable future.

His post this month on Sustainable Community Indicators references Maureen Hart's work with Sustainable Measures. (You'll remember this earlier discussion of how Connecticut is using her work.) I like the way Curt leads into the conversation around indicators:

I think the sustainable transformation that needs to happen is going to do so at the individual and community level.

One of the challenges in developing a sustainable approach is taking it out of the abstract and into the tangible. It's nice to have a high-minded philosophy of sustainability, but what does that mean when the rubber meets the road, and how do you implement it?

This is a follow-on discussion to his earlier blog about The Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators, which are another important foundational framework for community indicators conversations. If you aren't familiar with the Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators or with the rest of Hazel Henderson's work you owe it to yourself to take some time to dive into this re-envisioning of the future.

Here's Curt's description of why this is important:

Part of the reason the world is in such a mess is an over-focus on the financial as the sole measurement of how we're doing.

If we're going to make different decisions to build a sustainable future, we have to recognize that we're operating in a holistic, interconnected system and take into account a much wider range of factors.

If we in the indicators world are going to do a better job in story-telling and engaging people around indicators to bring about community change, we're going to need to pay attention to those who are passionate about community change who discover indicators -- the recently-converted, as it were, can help us use better language to describe the critically of measures of progress as part of any effort to transform community.


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