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Data is key to the identification of community trends and a basis for addressing health disparities and inequities and to mobilize around other key issues that matter to residents.  Yet, the validity of data is routinely questioned and information is increasingly coming from unreliable sources. Now at growing risk of being eliminated or withheld, community data matters more than ever.  The 2017 Impact Summit will offer a forum to discuss and explore the role of data in supporting community change, on how to facilitate the use of accurate data for democratic decision-making at various scales – locally, regionally, statewide, nationally and internationally -, and on opportunities to fortify and intensify our efforts to promote and lead change through the use of community data.

Plenary panels and roundtables will tackle the larger issue, for community indicators project, of how to sustain or rebuild trust in data and how to share information for maximum impact.  Tracks will offer specialized sessions that will expand on how information can be used to powerfully address specific issues of interest.

1.  Place-Based Initiatives: Place-based community change initiatives are being established in a growing number of communities throughout the United States, with a combined governmental and philanthropic investment that now exceeds ten billion dollars.  This cross-sector, cross-scale approach aims to catalyze community transformation such that all individuals of a neighborhood or otherwise designated geography are thriving, with corresponding improvements in community-building, programs/services, policy/systems coordination, and data/evaluation.  Continuous data efforts designed to bring about thriving across scales (individual, family, neighborhood, community) in multiple domains (e.g. mental health, learning, and physical health).  Community indicators are a central component of these data efforts, and through this track presenters will be able to share latest innovations.

2. Child and Family Well-Being:   Increasingly, children and families are recognized not only as the focus and manifestation of community well-being at the individual or micro scale, but also as central change agents in promoting the well-being of themselves, others, and their neighborhood / community.  Many neighborhoods, organizations, communities and funders orient around child and family thriving as a central means of promoting and tracking improvements in quality of life.  This track will address the role of community indicators in various efforts that focus on child and/or family well-being.

3.  Power and Equity:  Science has confirmed that diversity is essential for community thriving.  However, disparities in health, mental health, learning, wealth, and other dimensions of well-being reveal that diversity is not yet embraced and equity does not yet exist in most communities.  These patterns also reflect power dynamics, which must be addressed in order for communities to transform.  The role of community indicators in clarifying and addressing patterns of equity, as well as navigating and altering power dynamics, will be addressed through this track.

4.  Community Development /  Wealth-Building:  Economic and community development have been longstanding approaches to improving the vitality of communities around issues that include employment, housing, and infrastructure, mostly led by the public sector.  Alternative approaches have also started taking root in some communities more recently, with a focus on local assets, inclusivity, cross-sector collaboration, and local ownership, often following the lead of “anchor” institutions.  The various approaches all aim to improve the quality of life for residents and emphasize data collection and evidence of progress. This track will examine the indicator-based efforts associated with the range of approaches that are making a difference in communities.

5. Advanced Data Methods:  Efforts to transform communities and improve well-being call for data methods that can address social complexity, which in turn have implications for community indicators.  This track will include presentations, workshops and plenary sessions with leaders in complexity-informed methods such as participatory social network analysis, participatory agent-based modeling, dynamic narrative analysis, along with more familiar approaches such as GIS mapping, dashboards and other data visualization approaches.

6. Best of the Rest:  The Best of the Rest track is designed to provide sessions with broad appeal that do not necessarily fit in the other tracks. The general focus is on tools and technology, community engagement, capacity building, and global evidence-based practices. As community indicators projects across the world evolve, so do the frameworks and technology that supports them. Share your cutting edge approaches to enhance your data-driven decision making.

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