Collection Method: Center for Active Design’s ACES survey
• The Center for Active Design, a New York City design nonprofit, focuses on how the built environment can contribute to a community’s physical, mental and social health.
• As mentioned in Step 1, this Framework’s definition of Social Cohesion comes in part from the Center for Active Design’s ASSEMBLY Civic Engagement work.
• The Center administered their ASSEMBLY Civic Design Survey (ACES) survey nationally to inform design recommendations for city planners, real estate developers and others in the design arena.
• While this survey is not GI-specific, questions in three survey categories strongly relate to how GI impacts a community’s social cohesion. Below find a few relevant questions to consider asking:
Civic Appreciation & Trust
How much do you trust local government to do what’s right for your community?
How likely are you to ask a neighbor for a favor?
How much do you feel like people in your community care about each other?
How satisfied are you with your Park and Recreation Department?
Stewardship: Public Realm
To what extent do you feel like residents in your community have the ability to impact the community?
In the last year, have you advocated for neighborhood improvements? Have you maintained greenspace in a public place? Have you organized your neighbors around a community cause?
Participation in Public Life
In the last year, have you attended a neighborhood meeting about a local issue?
How many of your neighbors do you know by name?
Collection Method: Local Crime Data Analysis
• LexisNexis provides a user-friendly crime mapping tool, Community Crime Map, that allows searches of local crime results by type of offense, date and location.
• If you don’t see your community included in this tool — to ensure the accuracy of your LexisNexis data pull — consult your local police department for neighborhood crime records in and around your project site to confirm your analysis.
• Numerous factors can lead to reduced crime, so you will want to look at similar data for control sites. You should also minimize your search area, as the reductions likely will be localized within a mile or so from your project.
Collection Method #1: U.S. Census Data Accessed Through GIS software
• To measure your project’s reach into the community, first calculate the number of people nearby who have access to your project, especially if the GI feature(s) involved have a community engagement component (e.g., trail enhancements).
• If your organization owns GIS software, you can enter your project’s address and easily pull reports on how many community members live within a 10, 20 or 30 minute walk from your project (and you can do the same for driving time).
• ArcGIS pulls in a wide variety of data points taken directly from 2010 U.S. Census data including the American Community Survey as well as other sources showing demographic and income data from the neighborhood(s) surrounding your project.
Collection Method #2: Your Project Records
• Simple record keeping can help you track how and when you engaged your community throughout the entire cycle of the project.
• Make note of relationships that you built to see the project to fruition (neighborhood associations, school officials, nonprofit and/or private sector partners, etc.)
• If you involved a core group of stakeholders throughout the project, hold brief, informal discussions every couple of months to update them on how you are engaging local entities in the work before, during and after construction.
• Ask at least one question on the Community Survey Tool’s post-construction survey about whether respondents feel they were properly aware of, and engaged with, the project throughout its lifecycle.
Collection Method #3: NRPA’s Community Survey Tool
• NRPA’s Community Survey Tool offers an easy way to measure your project’s contribution to enhancing the community’s knowledge and use of GI.
• Awareness, knowledge and use of GI ensures that green infrastructure practices are spreading and taking hold in the larger community.
• Refer back to the Health Data Collection section to read more about the Community Survey Tool.