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 Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.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, July 29, 2009

Wikipedia Article on Community Indicators

I just noticed a new section in Wikipedia on Community Indicators. It's nice to see the beginning of the wiki, especially since the field has been growing so quickly in the past decade or so and we've learned quite a bit about engaging communities, measuring what's important, and using that information to spur meaningful and lasting community change.

(The coolest thing about the article was seeing this blog referenced as an "external link." Hold on for a moment while I call my mother and tell her my name's in Wikipedia! She'll be so proud.)

However, the article is incomplete. We know a great deal more about community indicators. The history of the movement, the attempts to come together as a field, the development of a shared knowledge base through association, conferences, and journals, the creation of the certification program in community indicators research over at Virginia Tech, the reinforcement/coming together/shared learning with healthy communities, sustainability, quality-of-life, and benchmarking movements, the challenges and opportunities posed by rapid proliferation of data, the efforts at integration with government performance measurement systems, the global efforts to create local community indicators systems inside and outside of governments, and the hundreds (perhaps thousands) of reports, websites, and other community indicator efforts that have been transforming both community activism and public policy for the better.

So if you're the kind of person who likes to update Wikipedia articles, there's an opportunity waiting for you! If you're not that person but can think of information/articles/references that should be added, we can start talking about it here and then see how we can improve on the Wikipedia site.

(And if you're the one who created the article, a thousand thanks for getting us started! I really do appreciate what you've done, and only hope we can take advantage of this opportunity to better capture the state of the art and science of community indicators in the world today.)


  1. Already see one person jumped in and made some additions/needed edits to the Wikipedia page. Excellent!