What is it? Neighborhood indicators allow communities to measure and track the progress over time of various conditions important to residents. Indicators are small pieces of information that provide insight into a larger system. The items measured may range from the more straightforward, such as graduation and poverty rates, to the more creative, such as community involvement or access to public goods and services, like the average distance from a park. Considered as a whole, indicators help a community examine the present situation, locate trends and directions, and gauge progress toward chosen goals. By making key bits of data more accessible and progress more measurable, indicator projects help citizens and leaders shape better policies and craft more effective change strategies.
How has it been used? Sustainable Seattle launched the Neighbors Acting to Build Resiliency and Sustainability program. Two city neighborhoods were selected as test sites for establishing a sustainability scorecard. Data experts, local residents, government employees and local non-profits came together to share their insights and develop the scorecards. They established a list of 20 indicators that best defined community sustainability and resilience. The process collected data from many different sources to develop a clearer picture of each neighborhood Examples of the chosen indicators included safety measures, such as pedestrian accidents and major crimes, to measures of habitat quality, such as tree canopy coverage and visual habitat assessments. Community leaders used the information to create projects, intended to improve the lower measures on the scorecard. (Source: Sustainable Seattle)