How We Define a Successful Neighborhood
Data should drive for collaborative, positive change. The community designed the Neighborhood Vitality Success Framework to be this engine, measuring what matters to get to the pulse of our unique neighborhoods, tracking not just dollars and cents, but happiness, health, and everything in between. The framework will equip residents and community organizations with actionable data that they can use to partner with each other, the City, and funders, encouraging collective action to generate vitality throughout all of Detroit’s neighborhoods.
What is “Neighborhood Vitality”?
Neighborhood Vitality is a concept to describe “success” in Detroit’s neighborhoods. BECDD stakeholders define vitality as a “socially cohesive” neighborhood. Social cohesion is a well-researched idea that proposes social participation, social capital and social mobility as vital characteristics of a resilient city. Using social cohesion as the starting point for thinking about neighborhood vitality, BECDD established six categories of data to describe what creates “neighborhood vitality.”
The Neighborhood Vitality Framework Will:
- Provide data for action, serving as a useful and dynamic tool for CDOs, resident leaders, and other users to plan, organize for change, and celebrate progress.
- Encourage collaboration and partnerships among the many stakeholders who utilize this tool.
- Incorporate both the measurable and difficult-to-measure factors that contribute to a vital neighborhood.
- Create a shared awareness of current conditions in each Neighborhood Zone and how they are changing over time.
The Neighborhood Vitality Success Framework: Four Components
- Primary (collected from residents) and secondary (collected from other sources) data sources that provide information on lived experiences and close-to-real-time, actionable information.
- Geographic Reporting Units called “Neighborhood Zones”: that are aligned with City Council Districts and City of Detroit Department of Neighborhoods boundaries.
- Indicators of progress and success in six categories: Community Capacity, Resident Opportunity, Neighborhood Conditions, Quality of Life, Equity Impact, and Youth Quality of Life.
- A reporting tool called the “Neighborhood Vitality Index,” accessible in a wide variety of formats
The Six Data Categories and their Main Users/Collaborators
The Neighborhood Vitality Index will collect primary and secondary data for each Neighborhood Zone and organize that data into six categories. The results from each category will measure progress toward the vitality of each Neighborhood Zone.
- Community Capacity: Factors that measure a neighborhood’s connectedness, resources, and overall ability to facilitate positive change (Main collaborators/Users: CDOs and GROs, Intermediaries)
- Resident Opportunity: Factors that measure residents’ ability to access opportunity and economic mobility (Main collaborators/Users: Funders, Intermediaries, Human Service Institutions, CDOs)
- Neighborhood Conditions: Indicators that measure the physical characteristics of a community (Main collaborators/Users: CDOs and City of Detroit)
- Quality of Life: Indicators that monitor whether residents enjoy a high standard of living across multiple factors (Main collaborators/Users: Funders, Intermediaries, City of Detroit, CDOs)
- Equity and Impact: Factors that can disproportionately affect historically marginalized populations in a community
- Youth Quality of Life: Indicators that monitor whether youth in the neighborhood have access to the resources needed to support a high standard of living.
Accomplishments to Date
- We conducted Phase 1 of the three-phase NVI pilot process in partnership with CDOs working across Detroit. This allowed us to:
- Create and test a survey that collects data about residents’ lived experiences using an electronic data collection process
- Experiment with creating the analysis and processes that will allow us to calculate the index itself
- Design an early example of what the NVI data could look like when shared with the community
- We are currently embarking upon Phase 2 of the NVI pilot process
2021–2022 Next Steps
- Complete Phase 2 of the NVI pilot process in one City Council District
- Test in-person data collection process
- Create sample NVI reporting products and use them to gather community feedback
- Conduct Phase 3 of the NVI pilot project (citywide) in 2022
- Work with the Neighborhood Vitality Task Force to use learnings from Phases 2 and 3 to make necessary changes to the NVI framework
- Continue to identify adopters among various audiences and sectors who can take ownership of the NVI and use its data to drive positive change in Detroit’s neighborhoods