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 Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.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, April 14, 2009

If The World Were A Village of 100 People

You've seen the numbers and the lists. But have you seen the pictures? Toby Ng has assembled a set of 20 posters that try to visualize the data in simple terms.
The premise is simple: Take a series of statistics, and translate the percentages to the number of people out of 100 that would live in your world village. Out of the 100 people in your village, for example, 48 would be men, 52 women.

I'm not normally a fan of this attempt to turn statistics into lists of hypothetical villagers. (For example, the list tends to obscure and oversimplify sometimes -- all the wealthy people in the "world village" are Americans? Really?) But these posters are nice, clean, and tell stories that have immediate visual impact.

(I do agree with Flowing Data that some of the images appear random -- did he really use a banana to symbolize sexual orientation?)

Take a look and let me know what you think. How might this approach help get your message across in your community indicators project?

(For more on the topic of visualizing graphs, see Graphs and Charts USA Today Style.)


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