Twelve years ago the Northwest Indiana Quality of Life Council was formed to be a collective voice for sustainable economic, environmental and social progress in the region. It soon became apparent that in order to open conversations, set priorities and move forward, the council needed to collect data that would indicate both problems and progress. So in 2000, the first Northwest Indiana Quality of Life Indicators Report was published.
Now, the Northwest Indiana Quality of Life Council and the One Region, One Vision initiative are a single non-profit organization, One Region, focused on improving the quality of life in Northwest Indiana.
This 2012 Indicators Report presents a baseline view of Northwest Indiana and serves as a relevant tool for One Region to use in its civic engagement. The report fulfills three primary purposes:
- To provide an objective assessment of conditions in ten categories considered to be leading indicators of the quality of life in Northwest Indiana.
- To identify and evaluate trends in each of these categories during the period from 2000 to 2010.
- To stimulate dialogue and actions that address opportunities to enhance the quality of life.
Each chapter provides an overview of why the topic is important to the region, a historical perspective on the issue and the current analysis. Questions are posed by the author to stimulate thought about what the data does or does not say and what else might need to be considered. Calls to action are the ideas and suggestions of the author on where One Region stakeholders might or could begin. A system of arrows and blocks indicate if indicator performance has improved, remained steady or has declined over time.
This report is not an exhaustive list of data collected in prior years nor is it a comprehensive analysis of all facets of the leading indicators. But beginning with the analysis in this report – including insight on where the data so far have fallen short – One Region can structure a process for collecting the right data consistently and continually.
The more useful and readily available the indicators can become, then the more that fact-based information and dialogue can shape policy and action in Northwest Indiana. These measured outcomes, as signs of marked progress, can then be used to hold people and organizations accountable for producing mutually-beneficial results.