Madison (WKOW) -- from City of Madison: Mayor Dave Cieslewicz announced Friday the launch of the Neighborhood Indicators Pilot Project.
The NIP is a battery of more than forty characteristics and indicators of neighborhood health that will help us better understand Madison's neighborhoods, tailor solutions to a neighborhood's particular characteristics and spot problems early so that we can address them.
"When brought to full scale, the Neighborhood Indicators Project will help us better understand our neighborhoods, tailor solutions, and give us early warning signs of stress so that problems can be addressed quickly, effectively and less expensively," Cieslewicz said.
"The NIP will surely provide invaluable information regarding individual neighborhoods, as well as allow the city to better prioritize resources and evaluate the effectiveness of its efforts in responding to emerging neighborhood challenges," Council President Tim Bruer said.
The goal of the Neighborhood Indicators Pilot Project is to demonstrate the usefulness and look of a potential full scale system, while soliciting feedback from users to refine and improve the package for its full scale citywide version.
The Mayor's 2009 operating budget reduces neighborhood planning grants in order to grow the Neighborhood Indicators Project citywide next year.
"The idea is to get early warning signs of stress so that we can evaluate the problem and react early on. Through Neighborhood Indicators, we can spend a small amount of resources in the short term to avoid major expenditures in the long term," Cieslewicz said. "When developing a new program or allocating funding, neighborhood indicators can provide us with the details and direction to better target our limited resources."
Over time, as more data is compiled, these numeric values can be used to illustrate trends.
Until now, the City of Madison relied on data only available for large geographies or Census data only available once every ten years.
For the first time, the NIP provides both timely and accurate information about Madison's neighborhoods.
A partnership with the UW's Applied Population Lab made this project possible.
They are the clearinghouse for all of the state's Census information, skilled at identifying data sources, and are experienced with modeling small geographies like Madison's neighborhoods.