The following areas may be useful to monitor in order to understand if and how a neighbourhood is evolving.
The following indicators may provide some insight into whether a community is inclusive:
- The degree of participation of marginalized groups and individuals in community facilities and services.
- Number, types and perceived effectiveness of public participation processes based on shared decision-making versus simply consultation.
- Number, types and perceived effectiveness of culturally sensitive policies/programs/ strategies of community service organizations.
- Measures of the quality of community resources.
Social Cohesion ('Social Capital')
Social Cohesion ('Social Capital) is a foudnation for healthy communities. This refers to the sense of belonging, inclusion, trust, hope and reciprocity among community members. Approaches to understanding whether social cohesion is improving is to track indicators, and/or to map out relationshipsbetween individuals and groups in a community (social networks). For more information about methods and possible indicators, see:
- Canadian Council on Social Development (2000)Social Cohesion in Canada: Possible Indicators.
- Policy Research Initiative (2005), Measurement of Social Capital: Reference Document for Public Policy Research, Development, and Evaluation. The appendix of this document contains indicator frameworks and sample surveys.
Reviewing statistics that relate to economic development in a community can help you develop a picture of how a neighbourhood is evolving. For instance, employment and income opportunities, retail space and mix, commercial space and mix, housing, public and private community resources (# doctors, dentists community centres, etc.). Statistics Canada has Census Tract (CT) Profiles which provide 2006 Census data for small geographic areas (including city neighbourhoods)
It is also possible to estimate the economic impacts associated with an activity. This type of analysis can be specialized to undertake; many consultants work in this area. Studies typically model the relationships between spending in the community and economic activity (usually described in terms of jobs and income generated). A resources developed for community organizations that work in community development is available from the New Economics Foundation. http://www.pluggingtheleaks.org/
Monitoring Community Safety
Approaches for monitoring community safety include:
- Reviewing changes in crime statistics and other data that relate to community safety. The following websites monitor indicators relating to crime and safety (among others) as part of tracking various community indicators. These sources are useful for their information, and in understanding what indicators may be possible to develop, as well as data sources to use to develop your own indicators.
- Vital Signs (Community Foundations)
- Genuine Progress Indicators
- Stats Canada and local police department statistics.
- Developing your own data through surveying. The later could be done in conjunction with other organizations who may also be interested in the same data.