The Case for Coordination and Collaboration in Sustainable Community Indicators and Reporting Rationale for a common community information system in Canada
Abstract: As growing populations concentrate in urban areas, it has become apparent that many global problems are a cumulative reflection of unsustainable practices at the local level. Correspondingly, there has been an increasing need to monitor and manage sustainable community growth, which includes a balance of environmental, economic, health, and social measures. Throughout the last decade, the community indicators movement has intensified, fuelled by a growing need for information for municipal management purposes, to guide policy decisions, and as a way to demonstrate accountability. This growing demand for information, combined with an increasing number of different frameworks and approaches to indicator development has resulted in a mass of information, which is becoming unmanageable. This research examined the factors contributing to what has resulted in an increasingly uncoordinated mélange of information, which threatens to become counter-productive in making progress towards community and regional sustainability. Focusing on Canadian experiences, the research identified patterns that have emerged for common information requirements, and suggests a framework for coordination that may provide direction to current initiatives. Potential partners to be involved in the creation of a common community information system are identified, and potential barriers to a collaborative effort are discussed. These recommendations are supported by a strong call for coordination from community indicator practitioners, and examples of collaborative initiatives from other world regions.
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