The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Transportation have launched the Location Affordability Index! It builds on the efforts of the Center for Neighborhood Technology’s Housing and Transportation Index. The new Location Affordability Index has downloadable data, and a number of different “resident profiles” that estimate housing and transportation costs for different types of people (beyond just average residents).
The tool is going to be an important policy tool when making decisions about housing development and how to deploy transportation funds. It also gives people a better estimate of what housing and transportation cost in their neighborhood. Check it out!
Countries, states, cities, and regions have long considered a number of economic measures as key indicators of success or prosperity. Life is more complex than just economic outcomes though. Quality of life is important, and it is made up of a number of different factors. The environment, public health, transportation, public safety, and civic life all matter, but they are far from inclusive of all of the things that we can use to understand how communities are doing. In an effort to think about other indicators of success, the OECD has started the Your Better Life Index. The index only presents data at the national level, but it allows users to see how OECD countries rank in metrics other than traditional economic measures. The OECD has also published a book that inspired the index How’s Life. It describes the other ways that nations can measure their progress and allows users to see countries ranked based on the things that are most important to them.
The index would be especially helpful if it was available at smaller geographies – maybe the regional or city level. Someday, when data is better integrated, it would be especially interesting to be able to compare one’s neighborhood with other places across the globe. Users may be able to be inspired by certain quality of life metrics in neighborhoods they see in cities across the globe, or they might be able to see where their community is going. While economic indicators are important, it is encouraging to see an early effort to use a broader spectrum of community indicators.