The Community Indicators Initiative of Spokane seeks to improve local, private and public decision-making by providing relevant data in an easily navigable website. The data will serve neutral information for all parties involved.
More specifically, the goals are:
- To collect and share a broad spectrum of information for individual community members, policy makers, non-governmental organizations, businesses, business organizations, researchers, and the press.
- To track progress over time of various efforts toward a healthy, vibrant community.
- To measure the community's progress spatially via benchmarks outside of the County.
- To enable analysis of these trends.
- To create a forum for a discussion of the issues underlying the data, either on-line or in person.
A community indicators project must receive its inspiration, general direction, and ultimately, validity from the citizens themselves. Appropriately, the Community Indicators Initiative of Spokane has convened individuals representing many groups, organizations and businesses over three rounds of focus groups since 2005 to arrive at the indicator set you see here.
The site launched in October, 2006. Critical to the launch were several community organizations, including:
- City of Spokane
- Community Building Foundation
- Eastern Washington University
- Greater Spokane Inc.
- Spokane Regional Health District
- Spokane United Way
The effort was helped immensely by a generous grant from the Inland Northwest Community Foundation.
A set of principles informed the votes of our focus groups. We asked fellow residents to consider that their choices of indicators be based on the following criteria:
- Important to large numbers of the community
- Based on valid measurements, as defined by good science and social science
- Understandable to the general public
- Defined to allow comparisons to Washington State, the U.S. or those in similar sized communities
- Available repeatedly over time to allow trend analysis
- Easily accessible
- Sourced from credible sites, largely federal, state & local governments
The website development and maintenance team is a cooperative effort of two groups from Eastern Washington University (EWU): The Institute for Public Policy and Economic Analysis and the Center for Digital Media Design and Development. The Institute for Public Policy and Economic Analysis (Institute) is a multi-college program at EWU. The Institute, staff and students, gathered the statistical data, wrote the explanations & designed this site. They have created several other similar indicator websites for Grant County, Chelan and Douglas Counties, three counties in Northeast Washington, Kootenai County ID, and Fresno County, CA. The Institute's Director is Dr. Patrick Jones. Scott Richter is the Community Indicators manager at the Institute. Brian Kennedy is the Institute's data analyst. Many students have helped develop and maintain both data and verbal content. Currently, Andrew Frazier, E.B. Vodde and Sam Wolkenhauer are the Institute's student research interns.
The Center for Digital Media Design and Development (Center) is a collaborative extension of EWU's Departments of Computer Science and Engineering & Design. Development projects for on campus and off-campus clients give students the opportunity to apply their skills in a real-world experience The Center is directed by Dr. Linda Kieffer. Dr. James Braukmann previously directed the Center, and contributed to this and the other indicator projects. Many students have contributed to the site's design. Currently, Sara Weinand is the student designer while Kandyce Moore is the programmer.
As you explore this site, the CII of Spokane encourages your feedback to help continue to improve this community resource. To receive a quarterly e-newsletter with updates about select indicators and stories of success, subscribe here.