by David Fleming
We’re one week away from the release of The Halifax Index (Halifax’s new economic progress tool). As the lead researcher and writer, I thought I’d explain where this project came from, why I think it’s important and what you can expect from the first Index.
When AGREATERHalifax, Economic Strategy for 2011-16 was being developed, the vision and values that were behind it were different than your typical economic strategy. Ideas and actions around sustainable environment, social capital, and building a diverse and vibrant community emerged from the collaborative development process. As such, it is evident that simple economic indicators like jobs and the amount of production were not going to tell the story of our community's progress. We had to build something different.
Take population growth as an example. When someone is choosing where to live, a number of key questions drive their decision:
- Will I find a good job?
- Will I find affordable housing?
- Is the local community welcoming?
- Will I be safe and healthy?
- Is there a vibrant arts, culture and recreation community?
- Are there better opportunities in other communities?
The Index’s four sections, “People,” “Economy,” “Quality of Place,” and “Sustainability,” represent a more comprehensive approach to measuring economic progress. Working with local organizations, governments and consulting a variety of publications from other communities, we’ve built a set of indicators that represent the best data available to tell that story. The Index will get better each year as we harness more of the collective wisdom of the community and build strong research relationships between government, non-profit, academia and the business community.
The first Index is about setting a benchmark for progress. We’ve identified key opportunities and challenges around immigration, our regulatory climate, urban area growth and a cultural change we need to make that will help our community progress towards its goal. We’ll unveil these findings, and others, at the first annual Halifax State of the Economy Conference on May 23rd-24th, 2012.
Remember that the Economic Strategy is just a blueprint. It requires action from everyone to realize our vision for Halifax. If we do the right things and continue to work together, the Halifax Index will tell a story of a community that’s vibrant, diverse, healthy and full of opportunity for many.
Author: David Fleming
David is the Junior Economist and Project Development Coordinator at the Greater Halifax Partnership. He studied Economics and Philosophy at the University of Prince Edward Island, and has experience working with private, public and non-profit organizations.