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 Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.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, May 31, 2008

From IISD News (International Institute for Sustainable Development -- subscription information below):


Associate Mark Anielski has been awarded the 2008 bronze medal in the category of Economics by the Axiom Business Book Awards of Independent Publishers for his book, "The Economics of Happiness: Building Genuine Wealth" (see to learn more about the publication).

Anielski is an internationally noted expert in developing and reporting on sustainability from the community to the national level and beyond. His Genuine Wealth model and Genuine Progress Indicators, which are new tools to evaluate wellbeing, are featured in the book.

The "Economics of Happiness" shows:

  • how economics, capitalism, accounting and banking, which dominate our consciousness, can be reoriented towards the pursuit of genuine happiness;
  • how to rediscover the original meaning of the language of economics;
  • how to measure the five capitals of Genuine Wealth: human, social, natural, built and financial;
  • how nations, governments, communities and businesses are using the Genuine Wealth model to build a new economy of well-being; and
  • how you and your family can apply the Genuine Wealth model in your lives.
IISD News is published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development. To subscribe to the text-only e-mail version, send a blank e-mail to

To receive the PDF version by e-mail, send a blank e-mail to

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Call for Papers: Social Determinants of Health

From the NNIP Listserve:

Social determinants of health: a call for papers

The Lancet, Volume 371, Number 9627, 31 May 2008


“…..On Nov 8, 2008, The Lancet will publish a theme issue devoted to the social determinants of health. We invite submission of research papers, reviews, viewpoints, and comments with an emphasis on action—what the doctor, public-health worker, policy maker, and politician can do to reduce inequalities and tackle the broad interplay of economic and social forces affecting health.

This theme issue will be produced in parallel with a conference being held in London (Nov 6–7,2008) called :Closing the Gap in a Generation: Health Equity Through Action on the Social Determinants of Health

The conference also aims to identify actions based on recommendations set out by the WHO Commission on the Social Determinants of Health. That Commission, chaired by Michael Marmot, will publish its final report after the summer. Launched in 2005, the Commission has used an ambitious process of knowledge networks, country consultations, and wide engagement with civil society and academia to devise a global strategy to realise longstanding hopes for health equity.

One telling example of the complexity the Commission will have to grapple with was provided last week by Save the Children. In its report The Road Less Travelled: Barriers to Poor Children's Healthcare Utilisation in Developing and Transitional Countries, Save the Children described how the child mortality gap is widening in the world's poorest countries. Transport can cost as much as half the total cost of health care. Corruption can be a major obstacle to preventive services, such as vaccination. And high drug prices can dissuade families from purchasing the care they need.

In the Commission's interim report, Marmot described health as “a universal human aspiration and a basic human need”. Although that view commands wide medical and political support, translating this vision into a practical, realisable, and affordable plan has proven beyond the ability of most nations. The Commission's work is an opportunity to turn advocacy into action. The Lancet invites clinical and public-health scientists and practitioners to make their contribution to this unprecedented international event….”


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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

CIC Conference: Updates

From CIC:

Community Indicators Consortium's Sixth International Conference
Community Indicators: Moving Information to Action
Thursday, June 26, 2008 thru Saturday, June 28, 2008
Washington, DC

The Community Indicators Consortium's Sixth International Conference is only a few weeks away and it promises to be another great conference. The conference will bring together individuals and organizations from around the world to increase their knowledge of indicators and performance measurement, share ideas and experiences, and network to renew relationships and build new ones. Have you registered for the conference and booked your hotel room? If not, you can do so by going to

The conference will focus on such topics as
--collecting, displaying and reporting data,
--linking community indicators and government performance measures,
--using data to make a difference, and
--promising practices from community indicator projects.

Panelists will be discussing community indicator projects from Boston, Massachusetts to Anchorage, Alaska from Chicago, Illinois to Miami, Florida, just to name a few. Plus, panelists will be talking about indicator systems in France and Mexico as well as globally. In addition to talking about comprehensive community indicator and performance measurement systems, panelists will also focus on measuring such important topics as measuring health, education, children's wellbeing, and the environment.

Interested in knowing more about indicator projects around the world? Then don’t miss the conference’s plenary speakers to find out about a national indicator project for the US, the Canadian Index of Wellbeing, and an international project to measure the progress of societies. Plenary speakers are:

Chris Hoenig, President and CEO, The State of the USA, who will be discussing the current status of The State of the USA’s effort to build a key national indicator system for the United States.

Alex Michalos, Ph.D., F.R.S.C., Chancellor, Director, Institute for Social Research and Evaluation, and Professor Emeritus, Political Science, University of Northern British Columbia and Research Director, Canadian Index of Wellbeing and Lynne Slotek, National Project Director, Canadian Index of Wellbeing, Atkinson Charitable Foundation will discuss their efforts to build a Canadian Index of Wellbeing.

Enrico Giovanni, Chief Statistician and Director of Statistics, Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) will discuss "Measuring the Progress of Societies", a project hosted by the OECD and in collaboration with other international and regional partners.

Additionally, conference attendees will have the opportunity to learn about and provide their ideas for creating a handbook for community indicator projects by OECD.

The conference hotel, the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel, located in Arlington Virginia, is an excellent venue for the conference and is conveniently located to Washington Reagan National Airport. Amtrak's Union Station is a short taxi cab or subway ride to the hotel.

Register today for this wonderful conference at Please inform your colleagues and friends about the conference so they too will not miss this great opportunity.

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Measuring Happiness and Public Policy

A new article from Miller-McCune approaches the question of measuring happiness from a different direction. In Maybe the Government Can Make You Happier. Should It? Ryan Blitstein reviews the work being done globally, including Bhutan's Gross National Happiness index, the Beyond GDP conference, the Local Wellbeing Project, the Happy Planet Index, and more. (His review is pretty good -- he starts back with Epicurus.) Then he discusses the political framework that tends to focus on consumption rather than well-being.

His conclusion? "Still, there is no real U.S. hub for happiness policy."

Read the article, and let me know what you think. Are we missing the boat in the U.S. by not pursuing happiness indicators more aggressively? What lessons should we be learning from the amount of research being conducted?

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Call for Papers: Marketing Strategies for Public Performance

International Journal of Public Sector Performance Management (IJPSPM)

Call for Papers

Special issue: “Marketing strategies for Public performance”

Guest Editor:
Professor Tony Proctor, Chester Business School, University of Chester.

Marketing in the public sector faces challenges both a regional and national level. In particular, there is emphasis on performance management and the adoption of an approach to business that parallels that in the profit making private sector. As public organisations aim to produce impacts on their external environment, their performance needs to be measured, not only at the internal level but also at the external level. This is the reason why marketing approaches and their specific tools have a key role to play in the management and measurement of public performance.

The creation of initiatives between public and private sectors, involving partnerships and joint ventures companies, and, the emphasis on changing attitudes and behaviour in Society, have focussed attention on making strategic decisions in increasingly market-oriented ways. A successful adoption of a market orientation allows the public sector to become better positioned to exploit emerging opportunities. Recognition of opportunities that exist, the marketing orientation required to exploit these opportunities and the enabling strategies demanded are key to the future development of public sector organisations in the 21st century.

Theoretical and empirically-based papers are being sought for a special issue of IJPSPM which will explore to what extent marketing can, should and indeed must improve the customer orientation within the public sector and the ways in which this goal can best be achieved. The exploration of key marketing challenges and the identification of best practice in differing marketing contexts are highly topical and important. Papers adopting a theoretical approach are welcome provided they deal with new marketing tools and approaches. However, priority will be given to papers which concentrate on empirical researches (cases studies). The general theme of the special issue will be around how public sector executives plan strategic marketing activities to increase performance within their organisations.

This special edition aims to inform readers on the processes and the consequences of adopting marketing approaches within public sector. It will focus on “marketisation” (increase performance in service delivery) and social marketing in order to link these integrated marketing approaches to performance that relies not only on promotion and communication, but also on the will to identify the needs of their public. Areas that may provide an appropriate focus include (but are not necessarily limited to):

· Diversity of the demand the public manager has to face with (consumers, users, voter, tax payers). Which marketing tools are more adapted to cope with this specific demand?
· Market segmentation, targeting and positioning approaches – traditional or new approaches more adapted to public services.
· How new public services are adapted to meet the needs of a specific demand
· Analysis of users’ satisfaction within public sector organisations.
· Targeting specific publics to reach social goals.
· How marketing tools are used and adapted in order to reach performance in changing social behaviours?
· Value based marketing
· Innovation and improved service delivery through public-private partnerships and networks or co-operation with other public sector providers
· Measuring short and long term future demand for services
· Effective delivery of customer service to reflect and reinforce the desired corporate brand image
· Methods of improving customer service
· Issues regarding pricing of services in the public sector
· Marketing communication approaches
· Social marketing in practice
· E-marketing and the public sector customer.

All manuscripts must be submitted in line with the guidelines for the International Journal of Public Sector Performance Management .

Important Dates
Submission of full paper before: 1st November, 2008
Notification of acceptance before: 15th February, 2009
Submission of final and revised manuscripts: 1st April, 2009

Editors and Notes
You may send one copy in the form of an MS Word file attached to an e-mail (details in Author Guidelines) to the following:

Tony Proctor

with a copy to:
IEL Editorial Office

Marcel Guenoun

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Gas Price Temperature Map

This is really quite interesting, and a great example of how thousands of data points can be displayed to quickly convey information. The USA National Gas Temperature Map displays the price for a gallon of gasoline across the country, and is searchable by city, state, or zip. Update times are listed at the bottom of the map.

You can zoom in and see gas prices down to the zip code level and further to the individual gas stations. It's a fun tool, informative, and easy to use. What other indicators could we be displaying in this manner?

(Hat tip: Information Aesthetics)

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Quote of the Day

From Florida Trend:

"People love numbers, even when they are meaningless."
-- Hugh Willoughby, of Florida International University and a former forecaster at NOAA, referring to hurricane predictions.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts the 2008 hurricane season will be about average in terms of the number and strength of named storms. But it is down playing its prediction of the actual numbers.

Read more ...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

CIC Seeks Board Members

From CIC's e-newsletter:

The CIC is seeking outstanding volunteer leaders to serve as officers and members of CIC's Board of Directors.

We are seeking for nominations for the following officer positions:
--Two (2) Vice Presidents

We are also seeking nominations for five (5) positions on the Board of Directors. If you have a strong interest in helping advance the CIC mission, work on exciting projects, engage in stimulating dialogue, and increase CIC's standing as a thought leader on community indicators and performance measurement, then we need you! Also, if you know of other people who have these characteristics, we need them as well. Please submit your name and a very brief bio to no later than Wednesday, June 11, 2008. Please indicate whether your are interested in being considered as an officer (identify the specific position) or Board member. You must be a member to serve in one of these positions.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Job Opening: Walla Walla Community Council

Executive Director position available in Walla Walla, Washington -- the place so nice they named it twice. Beautiful community and good people there -- please pass the announcement on to anyone really good you think might be interested.


Lead and build a Community Council in Walla Walla region. New citizen-driven, problem solving non-profit needs experienced, degreed non-profit executive. Live and thrive in state’s most exciting region. For details:

The Board of Directors seeks an Executive Director for the newly founded Community Council located in Walla Walla, Washington. The mission of the Community Council is to foster a civic culture that inspires a citizen-driven, consensus-based, problem-solving process to prepare the greater Walla Walla area, from Milton-Freewater, Oregon to Dayton, Washington, for future growth, change, and challenges to enhance the quality of life for everyone. The vision for the Community Council is to be publicly accepted as an effective, trusted, nonpartisan, and inclusive civic organization that engages diverse citizens in open dialogue, research, consensus building, and advocacy to achieve the highest quality of life for everyone in the greater Walla Walla area.

The Community Council pursues its mission through a community improvement model pioneered by JCCI, the Jacksonville Community Council, Inc and outlined below.

Implementation of this model has begun in earnest. A working set of values and vision have been developed through a series of community forums. A set of web-based indicators is ready to deploy to assess the condition of area communities and build knowledge about the region the Council serves. A program committee has already set about identifying its first research program.

It is now time for a capable leader to join this dynamic enterprise for community improvement. Along with the Board of Directors and the inputs of the region’s citizenry, the Community Council is positioned to create enduring value in the face of significant change for people who live in the Greater Walla Walla area. More information about the Community Council can be found at

The Walla Walla Valley

Nestled at the foot of the Blue Mountains, this community is steeped in history and blessed with beauty. Walla Walla has often been called an “oasis in the desert” because of the abundance of trees in this generally arid region.

There are outdoor activities of almost every type to be found. Whether it’s camping, hiking, mountain-biking, snowmobiling, snow skiing, golfing, or picnicking and relaxing with the family, you’ll find the perfect spot in the Walla Walla Valley.

Agriculture has always played an important role in the local economy. As a group, Walla Walla County’s farms are the oldest in the state. Wheat, peas, strawberries, wine grapes, alfalfa hay and world famous Walla Walla Sweet Onions grow in the region’s rich volcanic soil.

Whether you’re dropping in for the weekend or looking for a place to put down some roots, you’ll find uncommon vitality in the Walla Walla Valley. With nearly 300 days of sunshine each year, you’ll encounter bright summers, crisp yet moderate winters, and spectacular springs and falls.


Walla Walla County is located in the southeastern corner of Washington State, near the borders of Oregon and Idaho. It is at the geographic center of the rapidly growing Pacific Northwest region. This central location allows businesses to move goods and services to regional, national and international marketplaces in a convenient and economical manner. The West Coast and Pacific Rim are easily accessible by truck, train, river barge and air transportation.

Land Area
1,261 square miles

Distance from Walla Walla to…
Seattle, WA 273 miles (Northwest)
Boise, ID 254 miles (Southeast)
Portland, OR 248 miles (West)
Spokane, WA 181 miles (North)
Yakima, WA 130 miles (Northwest)
Lewiston, ID 98 miles (East)
Tri-Cities, WA 50 miles (Northwest)
Pendleton, OR 41 miles (Southwest)


The Community Council has in its ranks for Directors and volunteers the best of the regions leaders. Hundreds of people have turned out to participate in the public activites the Council has developed and hosted. The Council is networked to a strong base of regional and national experts. Local and National funders have stepped forward throughout the Council’s development and created a base of support upon which a sustainable organization can be forged.


The executive director is a full-time exempt employee responsible for administrative leadership and all operations of Community Council. The director reports to the Board of Directors through the President. Salary range $55,000-$60,000 with benefits. Position subject to continued grant funding.

Major responsibilities include:
· Supports the governance structure of the Community Council Board of Directors and manages the Council’s other volunteer efforts
· Advances the Council’s mission and programs through the implementation of the Council’s community improvement model
· Leads the administration and finance functions of the Council including personnel, budgeting, operations and information technology
· Implements marketing programs that lead to active support of individuals, businesses and other agencies in the life of the Council and manages communication efforts to share outcomes of Council programs with it many and varied constituencies.
· Engages in development efforts from increasing membership, raising sponsorship support, writing grants and seeking gifts from individuals

Attributes and Characteristics:
· Strong interpersonal, facilitation and conflict resolution skills
· Demonstrates commitment to inclusiveness and ability to work effectively with diverse groups, including key community leaders and organizations.
· Maintains a strong understanding of inter-organizational relationships and ability to build effective work teams and establish consensus.

Required skills and experience:
· A Masters Degree or equivalent long-term experience in appropriate field of endeavor
· A minimum of five years of administrative and supervisory experience
· Strong background in public policy
· A proven ability to work effectively with governing boards, volunteers, committees and the public and private sectors
· Excellent research skills, strong analytical and interpersonal skills, excellent writing and verbal skills
· Excellent skills in oral presentations to large and small group settings as well as speaking to the media
· Demonstrates experience and willingness to assess, plan and implement fund raising strategies

Application Process:
Candidates should submit a resume together with a letter of application addressing how their education and experience has prepared them to meet the position qualifications and responsibilities.

For first consideration, applications should be submitted by June 16, 2008 to:

Community Council
Search Committee
PO Box 2936
Walla Walla, WA 99362

The position will remain open until filled. Screening of applications will be completed by June 30, 2008, with interviews to be scheduled in early July.

Read more ...

NNIP Testifies at Congressional Hearings

News from the NNIP Listserve:

MAY 2008 - Tom Kingsley, the director of National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP), and two local NNIP partners from Memphis and New York City will testify in Congressional hearings over the next two days (May 21 and 22) on the effects of subprime lending on neighborhoods. Both sessions will be shown live via the web (see links below).

The first hearing, entitled “Neighborhoods: The Blameless Victims of the Subprime Mortgage Crisis” will be held on Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 2:00 p.m. (webcast at This session will focus attention on the consequences to neighborhoods when foreclosed properties fail to sell and lead to concentrations of vacant and abandoned houses. Panelists will examine local strategies to mitigate the effects of and prevent vacancies; differences between strong housing markets and weaker ones; and new federal legislation (HR 5818) aimed at addressing the problem. More information about the bill is available at

During Wednesday’s hearing, Phyllis Betts of the Center for Community Building and Neighborhood Action at the University of Memphis will demonstrate how foreclosures drive vacancies and blight in high-foreclosure neighborhoods in Memphis. Vicky Been of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University will describe their research in two areas: 1) the impacts of foreclosure notices on the sales prices of nearby properties in New York and 2) the possible effects of foreclosures on New York City’s tenants based on the characteristics of 15,000 buildings that entered foreclosure in 2007.

On Thursday, May 22 at 2:00 p.m., the second hearing on “Targeting Federal Aid to Neighborhoods Distressed by the Subprime Mortgage Crisis” will explore the potential for federal assistance to localities most affected by foreclosures (simulcast at Tom Kingsley, Director of NNIP, will comment on the principles and potential indicators to include in the creation of the funding formula. Other panelists will include Chris Walker of LISC and Todd Richardson of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The testimony of the NNIP representatives can be found at NNIP partners are at the forefront of measuring the neighborhood-level effects of subprime lending and foreclosures in their cities and contributing to evidence-based local policy and program responses. The partnership will be collecting stories and citations of this work over the coming months to offer examples for other communities dealing with this issue.

Read more ...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

PolicyMap Launches!

Here's the official press release for PolicyMap. I'll add my comments in a different post.

May 20, 2008

Quick Links:

It’s here! PolicyMap. We at TRF are thrilled to officially launch PolicyMap, a website that combines sophisticated technology and the best analytical tools to deliver a new level of accessibility to data. And we mean all kinds of data – more than 4,000 indicators related to demographics, real estate markets, money and income, education, crime and more.

PolicyMap is a tool for all of you who wished there was an easier way to incorporate the power of data into the decisions you make. It’s fast, efficient and captures data in visually powerful ways through custom maps, tables and reports.

For those of you who don’t know us, TRF is a non-profit community development financial institution that works across the Mid-Atlantic. We’ve spent the last twenty years financing affordable housing, schools, businesses, supermarkets and other projects that build wealth and for the people and places that need it the most.

At TRF, we have long recognized the need for good data and analysis about neighborhoods and have spent close to a decade collecting and analyzing data to better inform public policy and investment decisions. With PolicyMap, we have the opportunity to distribute and share information more effectively.

PolicyMap uses Pushpin™ technology, a leading platform for professional web applications in mapping, business geographics, and location-based services. Pushpin was developed by Placebase, Inc., a leader in online mapping that creates hosted platforms that display highly sophisticated interactive maps in ordinary Web browsers. Pushpin’s advanced capabilities include availability of large numbers of map layers on tap, display of thousands of markers rather than dozens, and dynamic rendering of shaded thematic maps reflecting thousands of data variables. The technology enables PolicyMap to provide thematic maps that are extremely clear, highly fluid and draggable, allowing users to slide across geographies using their mouse.

Four months ago, we shared PolicyMap with our close-in colleagues and have spent the time since then making significant enhancements to the site based on feedback from early users. We’ve added new functionality, more data and focused on the look and feel of the site.

We’ve tried to make much of what is in PolicyMap available to the public for free, but also offer subscription options if you are interested in accessing more features and proprietary data (that we aren’t allowed to give out for free).

Register for free now. Jump in and start exploring. Tell us what you like. What needs improvement? We’d love to hear from you. Together, we can unleash the power of data.

Jeremy Nowak
Maggie McCullough
President and CEO, TRF
Director, PolicyMap

Visit PolicyMap now!

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Union County, SC Community Indicators Report

From The Union Daily Times:

An “ongoing dialog” about how to address Union County's needs is the goal of the Union County Community Indicators Report.

Bob Love, chairman of the Community Indicators Project, presented Union County Council with the first edition of the report on Wednesday. The process began in the fall of 2006 when 35 community leaders gathered to discuss social and economic issues. The project identifies and examines key areas affecting life in Union County - economics, education, environment/recreation, family and health.

“We've established a benchmark to start an ongoing dialog between civic and community leaders and agencies on how to improve the areas of greatest need,” he said. “We're going to have a community-wide introduction to the report on Tuesday, May 27, at 5 p.m. at the Workforce Investment Center on Main Street and the public is invited. The report will be issued again in three years after the benchmarks established in those areas have had a chance to move.”

I'm looking for an online version of the report and haven't been able to find one. Anyone know where I should be looking?

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Job Opening: OECD

Research position on subjective well-being:

Economist/Policy Analyst
Please apply before midnight, Paris time, on:

We are an equal opportunity employer and we encourage all qualified candidates to apply. The OECD is a unique forum where the governments of 30 market democracies work together to address the economic, social and governance challenges of the globalising world economy, as well as to exploit its opportunities.

Recent years have witnessed a blossoming of research on subjective measures of well-being. While this research has identified a number of key patterns that appear to be robust to cross-country variation, the implications of these findings for concrete policies are less obvious. Consequently we are looking for a dynamic economist/policy analyst to conduct analytical, methodological and statistical work exploring such policy insights in a range of concrete policy areas. The selected candidate will work under the supervision of a senior economist and of the Head of the Social Policy Division within the Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs (ELS). POSSIBLE PROJECT POST FOR ONE YEAR (POSSIBILITY OF RENEWAL)

Job Duties
1. Data collection • Gather information from various types of cross-country surveys on subjective satisfaction with life as a whole and selected domain satisfaction measures, for people with different characteristics. • Organise this information in a manner suitable for comparative analysis. • Identify and document the data features that may affect the interpretation of the findings.

2. Analysis • Summarise the main findings from the comparative analysis of these subjective measures, both across and within countries. • Use the information collected on statisfaction with life as a whole and its main domains in the analysis of family and pension policies, programmes towards people with disabilities, and fiscal redistribution. • Disseminate the results from this research through the writing of working and technical papers, including pieces for academic journals.

3. Drafting and liaison • Prepare drafts of Secretariat reports on these issues. • Contribute to the organisation of a conference to disseminate the findings of this research • Liaise with statistical offices, national authorities and other data producers to improve data availability and comparability across countries. • Respond to internal or external requests for information.

4. Other responsibilities • Contribute to other divisional activities as required.

Qualifications: education, experience, communication and languages

1. Education and experience • An advanced university degree in economics or a related discipline with quantitative emphasis. A PhD/doctorate, or close to completion. • Familiarity with the literature and research on subjective well-being. • 3 to 7 years experience in comparative research and empirical analysis in some fields of social policy. • Good knowledge of socio-economic statistics and modern econometric techniques. • Good knowledge of standard statistical packages.

2. Key competencies • Good organisational skills, ability to work effectively on the basis of general instructions and with minimum supervision. • Good drafting abilities. • Ability to meet tight deadlines. • Proven ability to exercise initiative and to adapt to a range of different demands.

3. Communication and language skills • Excellent written and oral knowledge of one of the two official languages of the Organisation (English and French) and working knowledge of the other.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Job Opening: East Baltimore Revitalization Project

Here's a job opening some of the readers might be interested in:

Director of Data Management

Department: Office of Executive Vice President
Report to: Executive Vice President & COO

The East Baltimore Revitalization Project is an ambitious plan to reverse historic trends and, over the next decade, transform the disinvested East Baltimore neighborhood into a healthy and thriving community. The economic driver for the project is the development of a privately owned biotechnology center that would leverage business opportunities from the medical research capacity of Johns Hopkins Institutions and revitalize the surrounding neighborhoods by creating an estimated 6,000 new jobs, up to 1,200 new and rehabilitated residential units, a new community school and recreational facilities, public open space, and new retail uses along the existing business corridors. In early 2002, a non-profit organization, East Baltimore Development Inc. (EBDI), was established to manage the project. EBDI is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of civic, business, government, philanthropic, and community leaders.

Creating and sustaining a mixed income community has been a driver of the equitable development planning undertaken by EBDI, which focuses on workforce development strategies, on ensuring the availability of affordable family housing options along with those that will attract new middle income residents, on planning for the creation of high performing neighborhood schools to attract and retain families, and on family-friendly land use and facilities planning.

Job Objective
This position requires someone with a combination of training, skills, and experience in social research and data analysis. Also required are skills and experience in database development and management and community participatory research. The ideal candidate will be a highly proficient research analyst experienced in the use of standard social research software and relational databases. He or she will also be expected to learn, utilize, and maintain EBDI’s Efforts to Outcome (ETO) data base supported by Social Solutions. Knowledge and experience with GIS software is a plus.

Tasks and Responsibilities:
The duties of the Director of Data Management are varied, challenging and integral to the work of EBDI’s management of the day to day work, policy agenda, as well as its focus on the strategic use of data by non-researchers, including program operators, policy advocates, and community-based organizations. Tasks and Responsibilities of the Director of Data Management will include:

1. Helping to build EBDI’s capacity to use data for management, results, and planning by ensuring that EBDI is collecting sufficient data to document its accomplishments, evaluate its work, and report to program staff, funders and the public.
2. The responsibility for maintaining EBDI’s databases, providing on-demand requests for data, data analyses and research.
3. Serving as the liaison with and manager of EBDI’s software development contractor.
4. Serving as the liaison with EBDI’s evaluation contractor.
5. Managing and keeping current EBDI’s databases that utilize the ETO system to compile and report statistical data for each department. He or she will serve as EBDI’s overall systems administrator for all programs’ utilizing the ETO software.
6. Ensuring that each department has an operational relational database and overseeing all data collection across EBDI to ensure ethical data collection practices and the quality and timeliness of data entry.
7. Developing a protocol for data management and managing quality assurance.
8. Coordinating and responding to all requests for data, analyses, maps, and other information from EBDI staff, board members, the community and funders.
9. Collecting, analyzing, and interpreting social indicators drawn from administrative records, Census, surveys, and other data sources.
10. Assisting staff in interpreting and presenting data and preparing narrative descriptions of analyses and issuing timely reports that summarize EBDI’s effort (amount of work), the quality of its work (based on partner or customer satisfaction), accomplishments (goals and objectives achieved), and the difference it is having in the community (impact).
11. Conducting web searches and synthesizing quantitative and qualitative research on specific topics of interest to EBDI.
12. Working with EBDI staff to create specialized tables and graphics based on existing data products and customizing them to meet the interests and needs of EBDI departments and workgroups.
13. Conducting spatial analyses and generating maps using GIS software.
14. Perform other duties as required.

1. Master’s Degree (preferred) or equivalent experience in a social science field relevant to EBDI’s work (such as urban planning, statistics, social work, public health, economics, etc.).
2. Demonstrable experience maintaining and creating databases (Excel, SAS and Access required; knowledge of ETO and other software a plus).
3. Programming experiences a plus.
4. Data analysis and interpretation and report preparation and presentation.
5. Experience working with a diverse group of data users, including researchers and non-researchers.
6. Strong interest in work that improves conditions and outcomes for disadvantaged children, families and communities.
7. Strong quantitative and analytic skills.
8. Strong organizational skills.
9. Ability to work independently and with a team.
10. Knowledge and experience in using relational databases, such as, SQL, and GIS software
(ArcMap and/or ARMCIMS)
12. Must be skilled at working both independently and effectively in collaborative and team
Must have interpersonal skills that enable the employee to interact successfully with diverse personalities in and out of the organization.
Strong oral and written communication skills.
Strong organizational skills.

Work Environment
This position will work out of EBDI’s Community Resource Center located at 1809 Ashland Avenue in the East Baltimore Project neighborhood.

Normal working hours are 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. However, this position may involve some evening meetings with community groups and other key stakeholders.

The salary for this position will be commensurate with work experience, skills and educational background.

Cover letters and resumes should be faxed to 410-342-7442 to the attention of Maxine Norris, Human Resources Administrator; or mailed to East Baltimore Development Inc. at 1809 Ashland Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21205. Applicants may also e-mail cover letters and resumes to (Please include Attention: Maxine Norris.)

Read more ...

Friday, May 9, 2008

Local Data Sources, Part One

Last night I was talking to someone who expressed the same frustration many of us have felt in finding good data for smaller communities -- in his case, a small-population mostly-rural county. We pointed out an excellent resource a couple of months ago that just came out in January to help with this issue. The Catalog of Administrative Data Sources for Neighborhood Indicators (PDF)is a wonderful compendium, and the summary of data sources, example indicators from those data sources, and source organizations on pages 10-13 of that document should be printed out and taped to your wall as you work on any local data gathering.

With that said, a series of links to where you can access the data would be helpful, right? Send on your favorites and I'll add them to the list I use and we'll see if we can put a resource page together.
Kathy Pettit just passed along this note to the NNIP listserve (which anyone working on small-area data should join):

"Brookings has produced a very nice web site to display and download ZIP code-level tax return information on topics such as EITC, income distribution for states, metro areas, counties, cities, and state legislative and congressional districts for tax years 1997 through 2005. You can also access their research briefs from this site."

I'm partial to the Local Employment Dynamics site from the U.S. Census Bureau ( By bringing together state workforce data and federal census data, you've got a nice, customizable, searchable data set. I especially like using it to tease out information about what's happening in sectors like the arts community or nonprofit sectors.

Any such list has to point you to Population, housing, employment, and income data at a zip-code level data are available. Prowl through their 2,000+ indicators to see which ones make sense for your report at the reporting level you need.

That should get you started. Send in your favorites as well, and we'll continue this conversation.

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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Conference and Call for Papers: Quality of Life

Fourth International Conference QoL 2008:
Quality of Life Improvement through Social Cohesion
Wrocław, 15-18 September 2008

The QOL’2008 Conference aims at providing a forum for scientists to exchange up-to-date knowledge and also at setting goals for future research.

Three previous Conferences on Quality of Life Research, organised by us, took place in September 9-11, 1999, in September 18-20, 2002 and in September 14-16, 2005. List of publications after these conferences can be found on website:

All aspects of quality of life will be considered, ranging from the description of the real data to fundamental methodological questions with particular emphasis on the various aspects of improving the quality of living.

The topics of the Conference include among others:
- social indicators and reporting,
- life’s domain oriented researches,
- social cohesion,
- comparative studies,
- economic aspects of quality of life,
- welfare society,
- philosophical and methodological aspects of quality of life research,
- health-oriented quality of life.
The Program Committee expects survey papers as well as original contributions.

Department of Statistics at Wrocław University of Economics
General Chairman:
Prof. Walenty Ostasiewicz
Program Committee Members
Prof. Mario Bolzan
Prof. Stanisław Maciej Kot
Prof. Wolfgang Glatzer
Prof. Irena E. Kotowska
Prof. Achille Vernizzi

Abstracts of the conference papers written in English should be submitted to:
Dr Dariusz Biskup
The only restriction for the format of the abstracts and the full papers is they should be written in Microsoft Word 1997-2003.

September 15, 2008 (Monday):
Registration and Welcome Party
September 16-17 (Tuesday-Wednesday):
Sessions with English language
Evenings of Tuesday and Wednesday:
Banquet and social events
September 18 (Thursday):
Sessions with Polish language admissible

“Wrocław” Hotel
Wrocław, Powstancow Slaskich str. 7

Registration should be made by April 30, 2008. The registration form is available on the conference website: Deadlines given on website are not strict, because we still are waiting for new participants, but Organizing Committee is able reserve accommodation only for anybody registered till the end of April. Organizers will help later registered participants in finding accommodation.

The conference fee will be 250 EURO (=900 PLN). This includes a copy of the conference proceedings, attendance at seminars, lunches, refreshments and the conference dinner.
The deadline for the payment is 31st of May, 2008.
Name of the bank: BANK ZACHODNI WBK S.A. 17 O/WROCLAW
Address of the bank: 50-373 Wroclaw, Powstanców Slaskich str. 145
The account number: PL 07 1090 2529 0000 0006 3400 0503 with title "QOL2008"
Recipient’s name: Akademia Ekonomiczna we Wroclawiu

The official language of the sessions in two first days of conference will be English. Last day Polish language is also admissible.

Accepted papers which will arrive before June 15 will be published in the conference proceedings. Selected papers will be published in the form of contributed volume.

It will be possible to make reservations for the “Wroclaw” hotel. Price for a single room is about 65 EURO per night or 40 EURO for a place in a double room.
It will be also possible to make reservations in a student hotel (about 15 EURO per night)
Details about the possible hotel reservations will be available at the conference website.
It is possible to make reservations for the “Wroclaw” hotel ( Price for a single room is about 65 EURO per night or 40 EURO for a place in a double room. It is also possible to make reservations in a student hotel (about 15 EURO per night).If you'd like to make a reservation, please send an email containing:1. Name of the person (persons) and number of places to be reserved. 2. Name of the hotel (“Wroclaw Hotel” or Student Hotel).3. Date of the arrival (not earlier than the 15th of September).4. Date of departure (not later than the 18th of September).5. Type of room (single or double).to till the end of April. After this deadline all the reservations will have to be done individually by the conference participants.

All correspondence should be addressed to:
Dr Dariusz Biskup
Department of Statistics
Wrocław University of Economics
Komandorska 118-120
53-345 Wrocław, Poland
Tel. +(48 71) 36 80 356
Fax. +(48 71) 36 80 356

All the information on the Conference will be available at
The registered participants will be also informed about further details on the conference by e-mail.

Best regards

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Data Humor

From the 8 May 2008 Dilbert comic strip:

(The official link to the website is below. It didn't want to display correctly, and I lacked the patience to troubleshoot it.)

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Social Indicators and Public Policy

I ran across this blog post about an upcoming track at an international conference I thought you might be interested in. The International Sociological Association has created a working group on social indicators, and in Barcelona, September 5 – 8, 2008 they'll present a conference track entitled "Are Things Getting Better or Worse, and Why? The Role of Social Indicators to Inform Public Policy."

They have seven sessions listed in the track (see listing here), each of which sound interesting.

You can read about the whole forum here. The theme of the conference is “Sociological Research and Public Debate.”

Are any of you planning on being there? Can you send me more information about what happens?

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Monday, May 5, 2008

Alliterative Aspects of Community Indicators Reports

Why do community indicators reports embrace alliteration so often? Does it help?

The first alliteration I remember was the "3 E's" framework -- usually Economy, Ecology, and Equity. There's a site called the 3 E initiative that's starting to add community indicators to their work. The framework has been used by a number of different community indicators projects, including this one from my old home town of Bloomington, Indiana: (Performance managers use three e's as well -- economics, effectiveness, efficiency -- so the use of mnemonic devices is widespread.)

A fourth E was added by some -- "Engagement" -- dealing with the civic health of the community. Then Education. I never saw a report above 5 E's, though I may have missed an example or two.

Then it was the Three P's of People, Place, and Prosperity. Some started with the three P's, like South Florida, and some moved from 3 E's to 3 P's, like

Now I just saw a new report released that raises the alliterative bar for everyone else. The Redmond Community Indicators report has not three, not four, but EIGHT C's:

  • Conserve
  • Choices
  • Commerce
  • Connections
  • Character
  • Centers
  • Culture
  • Community

Can anyone top that? Soon this site will be a must-have for any indicators toolkit:

(In all seriousness, take a look at what each of these projects are doing. Good work, everyone!)

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Friday, May 2, 2008

Job Opening: DataPlace

KnowledgePlex, Inc. is seeking a Director of Data Content Development for DataPlace ( and its other projects. For more details, please see the posting at

Director of Data Content Development

Position Summary:
Serve as the principal housing demographic social and economic data expert. Responsibilities include identifying, securing, analyzing and sharing housing and demographic information, determining appropriate uses of data, assessing and recommending additional data sources where necessary and overseeing data quality assurance. Serve as manager of data and related content development for DataPlace. Position Responsibilities

  • Develop, or manage development of data sets, indicators, and related content for DataPlace.
  • Develop, or manage development of, descriptive housing market reports, housing data books, short analyses of data, and other mechanisms for describing market trends and disseminating housing and demographic data.
  • Evaluate studies, demographic projections, and statistics for use by internal and external customers.
  • Present KPI at conferences, seminars and other public forums.
  • Serve on editorial boards of academic journals where appropriate.
  • Provide analytical support for speeches, papers, or special projects of KPI staff.
  • Demos ands show courses of DataPlace design and teach

Minimum Position Requirements

Work Experience: 7-10 years of relevant experience

Education: PhD in Demography, Sociology, or Urban Planning. M.A. is acceptable with at least 10 years of relevant experience.

Required Skills:

  • Strong knowledge of social and economics and housing demographic, economics and social data.
  • Solid understanding of research processes, methods, and techniques.
  • Strong strategic thinking, planning, and management skills.
  • Budget planning and management capabilities.
  • Full-cycle program/project management skills, from conceptualization and planning to implementation and modification. Demonstrated ability to manage multiple projects.
  • Excellent relationship, partner, and team management skills. Ability to manage external researchers is required on a regular basis.
  • Excellent writing and oral communication skills.
  • Proficient in spreadsheet, word processing, database management and presentation software.
  • Geographical Information Systems (GIS) knowledge

We are building a dynamic team of committed professionals. If you feel your skill set and experience to be a good fit, please send your resume and compelling cover letter to: careers [at] knowledgeplex [dot] org

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Data Access Tools: Central Ohio

Community Research Partners in Columbus, Ohio, is an organization I like a lot -- they do really good work, and I had the opportunity to sit on a board with one of their former associates and was impressed with the caliber of work he did. (Hi, Mike!)

I like what they've done with their website to integrate their indicators reports, research efforts, and interactive data/mapping tools. Check out to see what I mean.

They do one other thing I really like: They train people on how to use the data in making better decisions.

As an extra bonus, they provide a pretty good summary of how to use community indicators on their website:

How Indicators can be Used

The indicator data can be used in a variety of ways—for policy and program design, resource allocation, grant applications, program evaluation, advocacy, and research. The following describe the ways that indicators help us understand our community:

  • Indicators provide information about large systems.
    The Community Indicators Handbook (Authors: Tyler Norris Associates, Redefining Progress and Sustainable Seattle) includes this definition of indicators:“Indicators are small bits of information that reflect the status of larger systems…When we can’t see the condition of something in its entirety– whether it’s… a person, an educational system or a whole community–we need indicators to make these conditions visible. Indicators can’t tell us everything, but they can tell us enough to make good decisions possible.”
  • Indicators help us see relationships among aspects of community life.
    Redefining Progress, a nonprofit research organization, provides the following perspective on indicators:“…indicators can bring many different sectors of the community together, foster new alliances and relationships, provide all citizens with a better compass for understanding community problems and assets…Unique partnerships for improving communities can be formed as community members begin to appreciate the linkages among seemingly unrelated aspects of community life.”
  • Indicators link the past to the future.
    The International Institute for Sustainable Development describes the use of indicator data in this way:“Societies measure what they care about. Measurement…provides an empirical and numerical basis for evaluating performance, for calculating the impact of our activities on…society and for connecting past and present activities to attain future goals.”The Community Indicators Database is being developed with all of these viewpoints in mind. CRP hopes that the database will help the community to better understand its systems, gain new insights into the interrelatedness of community trends, and most importantly, develop consensus on data-driven goals for the future.

So check out the site and let me know what you think.

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