Civic Awareness

Michael Manoreabout 2 years ago

HOW MUCH DO WE TRULY UNDERSTAND about the communities in which we live? How much effort do we put into finding and understanding the wealth of data published by our townships, cities, counties…and how understanding it affects us personally?  Are there means of improving what government understands about us…what we value…why we choose to live where we do…what may be improved upon?

TO THE POINT - Is there value in helping the data about our communities come to life (visualization methods) in ways that foster purposeful interest, awareness, and more proactive engagement by its residents?  Is there any need to?


WASHINGTON COUNTY EXAMPLE – Looking for other information, I was pleasantly surprised by the diversity of information posted in reports on their web site.  Thematically – four leading areas came to mind:



  • Our Needs, Interests, and Concerns
  • What We Value
  • Our Demographics
  • How We are Performing, Thriving, Living


  • Budget (including trends)
  • Bond Rating (why it matters)
  • Economic Opportunity (Status & Trends)
  • Tax Burden
  • Capital Improvement Plan (monies we are investing)


  • Schools
  • Civil Infrastructure & Utilities
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Buildings
  • Ability of Above to Meet Needs
  • Capital Improvement Plan (why the monies are being invested)


PERFORMANCE (County’s Perspective)

  • Health, Safety, Quality of Life
  • Quality of Services Provided
  • Address Today’s Need / Be Proactive for Future
  • Public Trust & Transparency




BEING PRACTICAL – There is more here than can be embarked on over a weekend.  But defining and starting one or two points of interest should trigger some compelling insights. IN THE END - The intent is to challenge what we truly understand about the communities we live in, what inspires us to invest the effort to become informed, and how better understanding affects our responsibilities to constructively engage those we task with meeting our needs.

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