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
Website development and maintenance comes from Eastern Washington University's (EWU) Institute (Institute) for Public Policy and Economic Analysis. The Institute is a multi-college unit conducting applied analysis at EWU. Institute, staff and students, gathered the data, wrote the explanations, conducted statistical tests & designed this site. The Institute has created several similar indicator websites, including those for Grant County, Chelan and Douglas Counties, Benton and Franklin Counties, and Skagit County, among others. Links to other sites can be found on the Other Sites page in this site.
The Institute's Director is Dr. Patrick Jones. Kelley Cullen is the Institute's data analyst. Many students have helped develop and maintain both data and verbal content. Student research interns who were instrumental in creating this project were: Andrew Frazier, E.B. Vodde and Sam Wolkenhauer. Meredith Hale was the student design intern for this project. Kandyce Moore is the Institute's web developer.
As you explore this site, we encourage your feedback to help continue to improve this community resource.