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 Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.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 23, 2009

Job Opening: Research Analyst/Web Communications Specialist

MAPC’s Data Services group has an opening for a Research Analyst/Web Communications Specialist. The Data Services Group seeks to utilize information, technology, and tools to inform public policy and drive social change.

Research Analyst / Web Communications Specialist

The Boston Metropolitan Area Planning Council seeks a Research Analyst/Web Communications Specialist for the Data Services Group. The Research Analyst will collect and organize data, conduct analysis, and prepare data for presentation in print and electronic formats, as well as help maintain a public data website. Applicant should have excellent analytic and communications skills and knowledge of emerging Web 2.0 technologies.

This is an opportunity to work in a dynamic, interdisciplinary environment focused on using data and analysis to support regional planning and policymaking.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Data collection, management, and analysis: Research and obtain updates to MAPC’s existing data sets as they are released from public agencies, the private sector, and other MAPC units. Clean and format data sets and prepare summary reports. Research and identify new data sources and integrate them into MAPC’s data warehouse. Build relationships with other agencies and allied organizations to support ongoing data-sharing.
  • Manage MetroBoston DataCommon website: Maintain HTML component of MAPC’s online data viewer and web mapper, prepare monthly newsletter, and conduct user trainings.
  • Lead innovative applications of technology to planning: Keep abreast of best practices for the use of technology in planning and make recommendation for implementation by MAPC. Technologies include, but are not limited to, Internet mapping, data visualization and analysis, public participation technology, and social media.
  • Other tasks: Respond to email and telephone data inquiries from municipalities and allied organizations. Create databases, forms, and reports as needed by MAPC staff. Assist Data Center staff in presentation of reports and other information, both oral and written.
  • Perform other duties as necessary

Experience in conducting independent research and in the creation and maintenance of various databases. The following are required qualifications for the position:

  • A bachelor’s degree in planning, public health, economics, computer sciences, or a related field or at least 3 years of experience in a related field.
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills, especially for emails, websites, briefing papers, and technical documentation.
  • Demonstrated strategic and analytical capabilities, capacity for innovation, self-motivation, and goal-orientation.
  • Experience with management of databases.
  • A high proficiency with Microsoft Access, ESRI ArcMap, and HTML.
  • Experience working with diverse data sets from federal, state, and local agencies.
  • Knowledge of emerging Web 2.0 technologies, including social networking and geospatial websites.

The following are additional desired qualifications for the position:

  • Master’s degree in planning, public health, economics, computer sciences, or related field.
  • Experience with open source programming and open standards.
  • Experience with scenarios modeling, visualization, and 3-D modeling.
  • Experience with the creation of population and employment projections.


The MAPC Data Services Group is responsible for data management, data analysis, and policy research. The Data Center has a four-part mission:

  • Provide data analysis, mapping, and policy analysis support to all other departments within the agency.
  • Provide basic analytical services and data products “on demand” to municipal clientele and allied organizations and agencies.
  • Undertake customized research projects or studies for external clients.
  • Conduct independent research on emerging planning issues of regional significance to help educate public and private stakeholders about regional trends and policy alternatives.

Over the past few years the Data Center has:


· The Metropolitan Area Planning Council is a regional planning agency serving the people who live and work in Metropolitan Boston. Our mission is to promote smart growth and regional cooperation, which includes protecting the environment, supporting economic development, encouraging sustainable land use, improving transportation, bolstering affordable housing, ensuring public safety, advancing equity and opportunity among people of all backgrounds, and fostering collaboration among municipalities.

· Our work is guided by our regional vision, "MetroFuture: Making a Greater Boston Region."(See Our Council members and staff work to advance this plan through technical assistance to cities and towns, data analysis and mapping, research, collective purchasing, public engagement, and advocacy for public policies that advance our mission.

· We welcome to our staff team intelligent, thoughtful and entrepreneurial professionals who are committed to improving the quality of life in Metro Boston.

Salary range: mid- to high-$40’s. Excellent state employee benefits package.
Position open until filled. Review of applications will begin on July 6.
Interested candidates should submit a cover letter, resume and three references to
Email responses strongly preferred. Only applications with cover letters will be reviewed
MAPC is an EOE/ AA employer.

1 comment:

  1. Ben & Maurine,

    Got your list mail. Thanks.

    There's a kind of “indicator of indicators” you might or might not know about. I study all kinds of envrionmental indicators, as a physicist. The one I’m talking about is that regular proportional change (growth or decay seen in time series data) is both an indicator of the presence of a local natural environmental system, and having a mechanism that will upset itself at some point.

    That basically applies to how to identify natural community systems, and models of them, as a tool for exploring how they’ll change. If you have questions I'd be glad to explain more about that and my other environmental measures. Best, Phil