Tag: The Measure of America

06
Sep

Portrait of Los Angeles Coming Soon

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Breathing Life into Numbers!

Continuing our ten year collaboration with Measure of America, Humantific Understandinglab is at work designing the upcoming Portrait of Los Angeles.

For those readers who might not know: Since 2007 the Measure of America team has been publishing an incredibly important series of societal sensemaking reports focused on explaining the complex state of well-being in the United States. Their deep expertise has become internationally recognized by many.

We are delighted to partner and work with Measure of America accross many projects in part because this involves much more than just data visualization. We love all forms of sensemaking that helps to drive constructive changemaking!

“Measure of America provides easy-to-use yet methodologically sound tools for understanding the distribution of well-being and opportunity in America and stimulating fact-based dialogue about issues we all care about: health, education, and living standards.

The hallmark of this work is the American Human Development Index, an alternative to GDP and other money metrics that tells the story of how ordinary Americans are faring and empowers communities with a tool to track progress over time. The Index is comprised of health, education, and income indicators and allows for well-being rankings of the 50 states, 436 congressional districts, county groups within states, women and men, and racial and ethnic groups.

Through national and state reports, thematic briefs, and interactive websites such as DATA2GO.NYC, Measure of America aims to breathe life into numbers, using data to create compelling narratives that foster greater understanding of our shared challenges and greater support for people-centered policies. The Project was founded in 2006, and became an initiative of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) in 2008.”

Previous Reports Include:

Portait of California

Portrait of Sonoma County

Portrait of Louisiana

About Human Development:

“Human development is defined as the process of enlarging people’s freedoms and opportunities and improving their well-being. Human development is about the real freedom ordinary people have to decide who to be, what to do, and how to live.”

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“Measure of America has been supported by many institutions through a combination of grants and commissioned work that all focus on our core objective: to better illustrate and address disparities in well-being and opportunity within the United States.”

If your organization is interested in participating in the support for Measure of America initiative go here:

 

27
Oct

DATA2GO.NYC | Visualization Challenge


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There is a new way to measure what matters in New York City! Measure of America and Humantific are delighted to announce the DATA2GO.NYC | Visualization Challenge.

In this challenge we invite specialists in the exploding information design and data visualization fields to use the unique dataset made available through the just launched DATA2GO.NYC website. The goal is to create informative and beautiful visualizations that help to illuminate strengths or challenges in New York City neighborhoods and how they shape the lives, choices, and opportunities of the people who live there.

Continue Reading..

11
Jun

Accelerating Civic Innovation


Ten Key 2015 Considerations

Building on our work in progress Humantific CoFounder GK VanPatter shares insights on operationalizing civic innovation capacity building today. Humantific is proud to be a founding member of HumanCities Collaborative a new multi-firm consortium created to help civic leaders operationalize human-centered civic innovation in tangible, understandable and scalable ways. Continue Reading..

29
Apr

Is GDP Deadsville?

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We were delighted to see Georgia Levenson Keohane’s “Is GDP Dead? post in the “Weekly Wonk” on April 16, 2015 as it very much reflects the paradym shift of focus that has been front and center in the Measure of America series since its first publication in 2008.

Measure of America pioneered shifting the focus in the United States from asking the old Gross Domestic Product (GDP) oriented question of “How is the economy doing?”  to the more relevant human centered question of today: “How are people doing?”.  Authored by Sara Burd-Sharps and Kristen Lewis Measure of America is widely recognized as a ground-breaking initiative.

Momentum continues to build around many dimensions of the social changemaking movement and its great to see others picking up on and extending this significant human centered paradym shift around how we look and see societies today.

Of course using more human centered viewing lenses tends to change the picture of how well the United States is really doing. That data-driven change of perspective will hopefully continue to help drive change at the level of city, state and federal governments.

From the Humantific perspective, what is often missing from articles such as “Is GDP Dead?” is mention of what happens after the new data-driven sensemaking pictures have been created. After significant challenges have been unearthed how are they to be addessed? We know from our real-world experience that simply putting new data-driven pictures in front of leaders is, most often, not by itself enough to drive real change that sticks.

As part of this movement leaders are beginning to realize that “Asking the right questions” is useful but no where near robust enough. Awareness is rising in the social change arena that without cocreated changemaking the best of data-driven intentions will often fall short. Linked together SenseMaking and ChangeMaking can provide the robust , adaptable and learnable tools to get the job done.

Today the goal of the data-driven social progress movement has many permuations but generally drives towards creating a more human-centered, life-centered world in the present and for future generations. It is a SenseMaking and ChangeMaking movement that Humantific is happy to be part of…:-)

Ten Key Quotes from Is “GDP Dead?”:

The Old Way of Seeing:

1. “Gross Domestic Product (GDP); what has become the official, if flawed, measure of a nation’s standing in the global economy.”

2. “By focusing exclusively on economic growth, GDP misses – or worse still, externalizes –the costs and value of a number of critical elements of well-being…”

The New Way of Seeing:

3. “a new trove of data offer[s] a holistic snapshot of the health of societies across the world.”

4. “…the [Social Progress Index] SPI offers a rigorous, granular and more meaningful alternative to the gospel that is Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

5. “The United States, the world’s wealthiest country in GDP terms, ranks 16th in “social progress.” Compared to our economic peers, we underperform on a number of dimensions, particularly those related to health: life expectancy, premature deaths from diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular and respiratory failure, fatal car accidents, and even maternal and infant mortality rates.”

6. “This year marks the 25th anniversary of the first UN Human Development Report, created by Mahbub ul Haq and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen and informed by Sen’s work on human capabilities and positive freedom.”

7. The HDI has also laid the groundwork for a number of different approaches to measuring quality of life, among them, the OECD Better Life Index, gauges of happiness, and important assessments sustainability, among them the Sustainable Society Index.

8. “…it is important to note that “social progress” does not always correlate with higher GDP—sometimes even when we get richer, things can get worse.”

9. “The SPI is a measure of inclusivity and distribution; as with other alternative indices, a country cannot improve its progress score by simply boosting GDP.”

10. “The SPI is also part of a larger revolution – across business, civil society, and government – to measure what matters. Asking the right questions is a critical step towards getting us to better answers and social outcomes, which would be progress indeed.”

Related:

Humantific at Gates Foundation

Civic Innovation Today/ Tomorrow

Portrait of Marin

 

 

 

 

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19
Nov

A Portrait of California 2014-2015

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Humantific for Good is delighted to announce the publication of A Portrait of California 2014-2015. This amazing series from Measure of America is transforming the role that data informed visual sensemaking and insight creation are playing in policy making and change making.

Since 2006 Humantific for Good has been working with Measure of America, an initiative of the Social Science Research Council.

“Portrait of California 2014-2015 brings together data, innovative analysis, the American HD Index and visual sensemaking to enable engaging “apples-to-apples” comparisons of California’s counties, major cities, 265 Census Bureau–defined areas, women and men, and racial and ethnic groups.”

Created by authors Sarah Burd-Sharps and Kristen Lewis, A Portrait of California 2014-2015 is part of Measure of America social sensemaking book series as well as related conversations and interactive tools.

CONSORTIUM OF FUNDERS

Blue Shield of California Foundation
California Community Foundation
Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
Humantific For Good
The California Endowment
The James Irvine Foundation
The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation
United Ways of California
Weingart Foundation

Key Findings in A Portrait of California 2014-2015:

“Income inequality is in the headlines these days. But to focus on inequality in income alone is to take a narrow view of the problem. Mutually reinforcing inequalities in health, education, environment, neighborhood conditions, wealth, and political power have created an opportunity divide that higher wages alone cannot bridge.

If California were a country, it would rank thirty-fourth in the world by population and eighth by the size of its economy—big enough for a seat at the G8. So what happens in California has national, and even international, significance.

This 2014–2015 update of the 2011 California report allows us to compare outcomes from one place to another and to look at changes over time. The result is a comprehensive reference tool and a critical starting point for informed discussions on change making policy solutions.”

Related:

 Breathing Life into Numbers

Portrait of Sonoma County Launches

SenseMaking for ChangeMaking

05
Jun

Portrait of Sonoma County Launches

We are delighted to announce the launch of A Portrait of Sonoma County.

A Portrait of Sonoma County is part of the Measure of America social sensemaking book series created by Sarah Burd-Sharps and Kristen Lewis of the The Measure of America team in collaboration with Humantific. The Measure of America is an initiative of the Social Science Research Council. For more information visit measureofamerica.org

Key Findings:

An entire decade separates the life expectancies in the top and bottom census tracts.

Those who are born in Kenwood/Glen Ellen can expect to live 75.2 years, while those in Central Bennett Valley average 85.7 years.

Analysis of Sonoma County’s ninety-nine tracts shows a clear positive correlation between life expectancy and education: people in neighborhoods with higher educational attainment and enrollment have longer lives.

Variation in educational outcomes by census tract in Sonoma County is significant and meaningful. The range in the percentage of adult residents with less than a high school diploma is huge, going from a low of 0.4 percent in North Oakmont/Hood Mountain to a high of 46.1 percent in Roseland Creek. The range in school enrollment is likewise vast, from 53.8 percent in Forestville to 100 percent in Central East Windsor.

Men in Sonoma County earn about $8,500 more than women. This wage gap is similar to the gap between men and women at the state level, although it is around $1,000 smaller than at the national level.

Buzz:

The Press Democrat

Sonoma County Gazette

California United Ways

Healthy Sonoma

31
Mar

Inequality for All

As Humantific begins a new MEASURE OF AMERICA report, working with authors Sarah Burd-Sharps and Kristen Lewis, we are reminded that the original series has spawned many subsequent social sense-making / change-making initiatives focused on inequality in American (USA) society. Many forms and flavors of change advocacy now exist around this issue.

We were delighted to see this hard-charging series by Robert Reich entitled INEQUALITY FOR ALL contributing to this important movement. Inequality remains an important theme not well covered in mainstream media. Robert strongly points out it is also not well represented politically…:-)

Being framed as “the INCONVENIENT TRUTH for the economy” it is an important contribution to the ReThinking Inequality cause.

INEQUALITY FOR ALL features Robert Reich—professor, best-selling author, and Clinton cabinet member—as he demonstrates how the widening income gap has a devastating impact on the American economy….Through his singular perspective, Reich explains how the massive consolidation of wealth by a precious few threatens the viability of the American workforce and the foundation of democracy itself. In this INCONVENIENT TRUTH for the economy, Reich uses humor and a wide array of facts to explain how the issue of economic inequality affects each and every one of us.”

Related ReThinking Inequality Resources:

Robert Reich’s INEQUALITY FOR ALL Official Trailer.

Robert Reich’s UNDERSTANDING INEQUALITY 

The Original THE MEASURE OF AMERICA / AMERICAN HUMAN DEVELOPMENT REPORT 2008- 2009

THE MEASURE OF AMERICA 2010- 2011 / MAPPING RESILIENCE

POTRAIT OF CALIFORNIA

A CENTURY APART

 

18
Jan

A Portrait of Marin Launches!

The Measure of America and Humantific team are delighted to announce the publication of the next chapter in the Measure of America Series: A Portrait of Marin.

This Social SenseMaking project was initiated and funded by the forward thinking Marin Community Foundation, the primary center for philanthropy in Marin County, California, and one of the largest community foundations in the United States.

Following the recently published Measure of America report, A Portrait of California, this report is focused on Marin County, located across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. Marin is known for its affluence and natural beauty, yet careful analysis reveals that the quality of life among different groups varies considerably. While some Marinites are enjoying extraordinarily high levels of well-being, others are experiencing levels of health, education, and living standards that are ranked lower than the worst-scoring state in the United States. Rankings are provided for the major racial and ethnic groups, men and women, native- and foreign-born residents, and Marin’s fifty-one census tracts for which there are reliable U.S Census data.

One goal of The Measure of America social sensemaking series is to surface and inform deeper understanding of complex societal issues that need to be addressed and constructively changed. For those interested in the subject: Social SenseMaking for ChangeMaking is about clarity not simplicity.

Key Findings:

There is a 13-year gap in life expectancy separating residents of Ross, who live 88 years, and residents of Hamilton in southern Novato, who only live 75 years.

While fewer than 30 percent of American adults have completed at least a four-year college degree, in Marin, over half have.

In Marin, as across the nation, the schools whose students have greater needs tend to get fewer dollars.

Though Marin’s planners have targeted employment in areas such as biotechnology and software as a way to stimulate the recovery and the county’s long-term growth, the lion’s share of job growth that has occurred over the last two decades in Marin is overwhelmingly at the other end of the scale: low-wage service employment.

Press:

A Portrait of Marin, First County-Level American Human Development Report
in Measure of America Series, Reveals Striking Disparities in Well-Being

San Francisco Chronicle

New ‘Portrait of Marin’ Report Explores Marin’s Income Inequality Gap
by Rob Rodgers | Marin Independent Journal

Gap Between Marin High/Low (Earners) Explored
by Chris Roberts | NBC Bay Area

Report Analyses County’s Racial, Economic Disparity
by Jason Walsh | Pacific Sun

For more information on The Measure of America, and to download a copy of the report, visit measureofamerica.org.

For more on the rising awareness of “The Great Divide” as the “defining issue of our time” see Acknowledging The Great Divide.