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 Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.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, October 17, 2007

Cleaner Air in Pittsburgh?

For those of you who went to the Community Indicators Consortium conference in Jacksonville, Florida (conference proceedings available here), you'll remember meeting John Craig from Pittsburgh Today. This is an interesting regional indicators effort that's getting some local recognition.

Recently, Harold Miller's blog, Pittsburgh's Future, wrote up the progress the city has made in cleaning up its air and the usefulness of Pittsburgh Today's indicators as measurement tools.

From the blog:

The American Lung Association claims that the Pittsburgh Region’s air quality is the second worst in the country. However, their methodology is misleading, because it is based on the unusually high PM2.5 readings at the air pollution monitors in Liberty Borough and Clairton. (PM2.5 consists of soot particles less than 2.5 microns in size, which can cause heart and lung damage.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized that these monitors were not representative of the air quality in the rest of our region, so it designated that portion of the Mon Valley as a separate non-attainment area for PM2.5 pollution.

Much better measures of air quality have been developed by the Pittsburgh Regional Indicators Project ( They average the readings from all of the pollution monitors in the region to determine the air quality that the majority of regional residents are breathing.

You can read the rest of the article here.


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