Critical Communities

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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.

I want to hear from you!

Two things:

  1. What factors do you consider indicators of quality of life in your community? Send me any ideas you may have about Critical Communities.  Please email me with “Indicators” in the title of the email. My contact information can be found on the left of this page.  Thank you for being involved in this process and very literally helping to create quality in our city, just by living here.
  2. What are you doing to deal with problems in your neighborhood? Email my liaison, Kira Luke, with your story. Whether you’ve started a neighborhood watch, designed a crime-deterring sign, or created a group to keep an alleyway clean, we want to hear what’s working! Please include whether you are comfortable having your story posted on this page.

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