Indicators affecting a community’s well-being


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About the project Edit

Peg is Winnipeg’s community indicator system, tracking indicators that reflect and measure the city’s wellbeing. The indicators, developed by a wide-cross section of stakeholders, speak to the wellbeing in eight theme areas (basic needs, health, education & learning, social vitality, governance, built environment, economy, and natural environment) and one cross-cutting issue (poverty). Individuals, groups, and organizations in all sectors can use the information to increase their knowledge, inform decisions, and guide action to achieve short- and long-term progress. is a public indicators Web portal for the Canadian city of Winnipeg. It is supported by an open-source semantic web framework called OSF (Open Semantic Framework). This initial beta version of the Web portal emphasizes the integration, management, exploration and display of a few hundred Well-being indicators’ data for the city.

In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

Like an individual tracking their blood pressure over time, Peg is an innovative way of tracking Winnipeg’s well-being. Peg allows Winnipeggers to see if the inhabitants are making progress on the issues that are most important to them. Through an inter-connected web of theme areas and their accompanying indicators, Peg presents both data and stories from the community. Together, they present Winnipeggers with information that can be used to guide collective action and inform decisions.

Peg uses an intensive community consultation to develop the themes and indicators, involving: a Steering Committee, Engagement Group, Indicators Working Group, the Urban Exchange, a collation of results from previous community consultations, as well as organizational, expert, and individual consultations. Over 500 people provided input into the pilot phase of the project. The Indicators Working Group developed a set of criteria to assist in selecting the indicators for the pilot and future themes and also reviewed approximately 100 possible indicators.

The specific process for the first 14 indicators was a 5-step process, as follows:

1. A list of over 400 possible indicators was created through in-depth research of indicators used by local, national, and international organziations. Of these, approximately 100 were chosen as being directly related to poverty, Peg's cross-cutting issue.

2. The 100 indicators were narrowed down to 36 by the Indicators Working Group. The basis for selecting the indicators was a set of 10 criteria, including factors such as relevance and meaningfulness. These 36 indicators specifically focused on four of the eight theme areas that define wellbeing in Winnipeg: basic needs, education & learning, health, and social vitality.

3. The list of 36 was further reduced to 21 by additional local experts such as individuals from the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, The City of Winnipeg's Community Development and Recreation Services Division, and University of Manitoba.

4. The Peg Project Team assessed the availability of data, ease of understanding, and priority level for each indicator. This resulted in 14 manageable indicators.

5. The final list of 14 was approved by the Indicators Working Group.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

Peg has been designed to benefit all Winnipeggers, providing reliable, credible information on key indicators. There are many reasons for and ways of using Peg. Students of all ages can use the site for research projects. Non-for-profit organizations can use the site to gather information on the communities they serve, thereby tailoring programming and funding applications to their area’s needs. Government departments can use the site to collect data about the community and the impact of various policies over time. Business owners can use the site to assess trends impacting their customers or to define where they might want to get involved. Community members can use the site to learn more about the strengths of their neighbourhood.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

“Community indicators are bits of information that, when combined, generate a picture of what is happening in a local system. They provide insight into the overall direction of a community: whether it is improving, declining, or staying the same, or is some mix of all three . . . Indicators are gauges for a community, like the Dow Jones Industrial Average: just as the Dow indicates the direction of the whole stock market by tracking a small selection of stocks, indicators represent a whole community through a few factors, often selected by way of a community visioning process.” (Rhonda Phillips, Community Indicators, The American Planning Association, 2003, page 2.)

Over 15 Canadian and hundreds of international cities have developed community indicator systems to help guide them. The Community Indicators Consortium has developed an extensive list of community indicators systems around the world:

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

Peg is the natural result of several city-wide community engagement and planning processes held in Winnipeg. These have included the United Way of Winnipeg’s Journey Forward process in 1999-2000 as well as the City of Winnipeg’s Our Winnipeg process. Through these processes, Winnipeggers have asked how they would know if they were making progress on the issues most important to us. Peg helps to answer that question, providing data on key indicators of the community’s well-being. The data is supplemented by stories from the community about how the issues underlying the indicators are reflected in the lives of Winnipeggers.

What is the business model of this project? Edit

Financial support for Peg is currently provided by United Way of Winnipeg, Province of Manitoba, City of Winnipeg, and Health in Common. Both financial and in-kind support for the development of Peg has been provided by the International Institute of Sustainable Development, Tactica, Structured Dynamics, and Soma TV. Further in-kind support is recognized through the participation of organizations on the Steering Committee, Engagement Group, and Indicators Working Group, in addition to the many others who have participated in planning meetings since 2002. Further funding partners are being sought at this time.

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