For the past several years, the Boston Foundation has been collecting data on key indicators of the health of the city’s economic, social, and natural environment. The Boston Indicators Project surveys ten key categories relevant to quality of life:
Cultural life and the arts
Environment & energy
The Project also examines six “crosscut topics,” including Boston neighborhoods, children and youth, “competitive edge,” fiscal health, race and ethnicity, and sustainable development.
Every two years, the Foundation issues a report of its findings, and it maintains an extensive website filled with information. In ambition, the measurements are similar to those of the Vital Signs initiative in Rockford, Illinois, and the “gross national happiness” index pursued by the Himalayan nation of Bhutan, as well as to some emerging indicators programs in Victoria, British Columbia, and Seattle. I’ll mention some of the differences but, first, let’s look at the Boston program.