Liaison: Kira Luke
Every community in the City is unique, with its own set of qualities and challenges. It is important to me that City departments are prepared to respond effectively and quickly to the evolving needs each distinct neighborhood has. The trick is, it’s hard for the City to help when it’s not clear what the challenges are, or how they overlap. To this end, I have begun working on a new approach that I call “Critical Communities,” which will help City officials clearly see what residents are dealing with. Critical Communities will track “indicators” of quality of life, things like proximity to grocery stores, schools, safe sidewalks, public transportation, crime, availability of jobs, affordable rent, school attendance, daycare facilities, traffic accidents and more. I plan to have dozens of indicators tracked on a responsive, interactive map that will give officials a cross-department overview of the areas individual neighborhoods need help with.
For example, if one neighborhood experiences several declines in quality of life simultaneously — like multiple homes with water service shut off for nonpayment, school attendance going down, and an increase of car break-ins — the city can strategically deploy resources we already have to the area and can work together to address the challenges. A City response could mean offering resources for economically disadvantaged residents or adopting zoning changes, depending on the issue that needs to be solved.
Mayor Biskupski’s administration has been great to work with on this ambitious new project and will, ultimately, manage the program day in and day out. As a Council Member, I believe we need this tool to effectively respond to potentially significant changes to our neighborhood and business communities.