“The greatest wealth is health.”
We each may have perspectives on what constitutes quality of life: good job, good schools, good health, drivable roads and walkable cities. But how do we know if we "have it"? How do we know if the quality of life in Central Indiana, in our counties and communities, is as good, or better, than other places? And if it isn't stacking up, how would we know that?
Indy Indicators is all about measuring and engaging people in the quality of life in Central Indiana. It uses the nickname of the region's largest city, but it spans the region from Terre Haute to Richmond and from Bloomington to Lafayette to Muncie. It focuses on KEY indicators – those indicators that are deemed by many experts to be the ones that make the difference in a community's quality of life. It provides key maps that provide a geographic context to the indicators, all the way down to neighborhoods and tract levels.
The Marion County Public Health Department has taken the lead in this endeavor (and has shown its strong commitment by sponsoring what is really a second go at such a website and program of civic engagement). To get this site redesigned and civic engagement firmly implemented, they chose to work with three nationally-recognized, award winning research centers at IUPUI. Two of those centers, the IBRC and the IU Public Policy Institute, are continuing the project.
We learned through our first iteration of such a site that it was critical to keep it simple, keep it fresh, make the measures meaningful, and make visualization of the data the focal point, combining it with comparisons to places anywhere in the state, the Midwest, or the country. Without context, we wouldn’t know what to make of any of the data, would we?