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I have been following this thread - but there is so little clarity about what
Are we talking about measuring:
Production and outputs?
Changes in operational management?
Short and long term impact on a spatially- or demographically-defined
If the latter, you may already know about an initiative of the Urban Institute
to create localized community indicator databases in many cities (Boston and
Atlanta, to name a couple). While a good idea, these databases are generally
very specific to a geographic area and have a limited amount of timely,
dis-aggregated data. The UI/Kasarda Underclass Database is another example,
using linked Census and other data.
There is so much data out there the question is becoming not what should we
collect, but what is cost effective to get and analyze? (to the point where
the value created by that information is greater than/equal to the marginal
cost of collecting and analyzing it)
Too often we collect data that goes unused or will never change a decision
point. A more important question may be how we can use existing data better -
especially internal production data - to communicate estimated or actual
outcomes to key stakeholders.
New web-based, or Windows-based, databases may help in the collection, or
maybe the analysis. Or these may just open the flood gates for information
overload in organizations with already limited capacity.
NeighborWorks Campaign for HomeOwnership
The views and comments expressed our my own and do not reflect the views,
opinions, or positions of the my employer, colleagues or clients.
From: Matthew W. Ashby <Matthew.W.Ashby@stls.frb.org>
Date: Thursday, March 04, 1999 2:56 PM
Subject: TRACKING SYSTEMS
> I don't know the current status on the information contained in the
> following message I wrote last year to a colleague. However, this
> slightly edited version may offer something useful to those interested
> in developing tracking systems.
> Dr. Richard Kurz, the Dean of the School of Public Health at St. Louis
> University, and Mark Hayes at St. Louis 2004 are bringing a software
> database to St. Louis (St. Louis 2004 is a region-wide community
> development project). It is expected to be on-line by midsummer 1998.
> The software is called Accelerating Community Progress (ACT): A
> Toolkit for Monitoring Progress. It was developed to facilitate the
> community development process and to make community information,
> projects, monitoring, and evaluation completely accessible to the
> It is my understanding ACT was developed through the national public
> health community (public health is a standard component of mainstream
> community development) and is making an early debut in St. Louis
> thanks to St. Louis 2004, the public health working group, and Dr.
> Kurz as a means to monitor the progress of 2004.
> From the brief demonstration I have seen, the software is remarkable.
> It has the ability to easily monitor outputs of specific programs and
> serves as a friendly database manager of complete (exhaustive)
> community information and resources in a Windows format.
> What I found particularly interesting about ACT is the possibility
> that it will probably render traditional community development project
> resource management less desirable (useless). We will have to wait
> and see.
> For the present, I believe activities to create an electronic product
> infrastructure will position efforts made today by community
> development groups for compatibility with ACT or any of the other
> electronic resources already on-line or being created. As you know,
> if a new resource is electronic, accessible and fully integrated, it
> may be accessed on-demand through any medium the customer chooses and
> tailored by the customer to fit their unique circumstance.
> I would underscore my personal opinion in the wisdom of making certain
> that tracking and performance evaluation tools are Internet-based
> applications. Everyone is probably aware of the Community Information
> Network movement and similar efforts.
> Matt Ashby
> Community Development Specialist
> Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
> The views and comments expressed our my own and do not reflect the
> views, opinions, or positions of the Federal Reserve.
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