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 Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.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 24, 2008

Index and Rankings

As many of you know, Mercer's 2008 Quality of Living Survey was released recently, along with a ranking of the major cities of the world. I'm not a big fan of either indexes or rankings, and was pleased to see I wasn't alone in that thought. Robert Kerr from Melbourne, Australia (Go Essendon Bombers!) had this to say after Melbourne ranked the 17th most liveable city in the world:

While we might express our civic pride and incredulity that Melbourne comes in below Sydney, the more important question to ask is whether or not these surveys tell us anything useful.

Is Melbourne really a better place to live than all but one city in the world? Or not as good as 16 others?

Indicators that reduce the concept of liveability to a single number are unlikely to shed much light on just how liveable a place is.

Instead, Victoria's liveability is best judged with a comprehensive set of indicators that reflect what's important to Victorians - not international pollsters.

So what makes a place liveable? The answer is likely to be different for everyone.

What do you think? Do you use a composite index in your community indicators report? Do you rank your community against other comparable cities? If so, why? If not, why not?


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