MRV Community Dashboard Will Make Data More Accessible & User-Friendly
What is the MRV Community Dashboard?
2022 marks a significant effort by the Mad River Valley Planning District (MRVPD) to make community data more accessible, usable, and integrated into local decision making processes. Questions of community wellbeing and resilience are more urgent than ever: who are our most vulnerable community members? What are the greatest risks we face? How do we rebuild from the pandemic stronger, more equitably, and sustainably? The annual MRV Data Report, produced by MRVPD, helps to answer these questions, but only if the data is understood and used. To address this gap, MRVPD launched the MRV Community Dashboard on March 17, a new online platform for community members and decision-makers to access, visualize, and track data that is pertinent to the MRV’s wellbeing and resilience.
What does the Dashboard tell us?
The Dashboard looks at five overarching domains which together answer the question “How is the MRV doing?” The domains are: Built Environment, Natural Systems, Community Connections, Social Infrastructure, & Economic Opportunity. Each Dashboard domain features eight data indicators which go in-depth to explore issues from healthcare to water quality to housing data; where available, each indicator also includes historical and narrative context. The result is an unprecedented community resource that strengthens community capital and resilience while being free and accessible to all, from high schoolers, to curious or concerned citizens, to elected representatives. The Community Dashboard is not ‘just another report on the shelf.’ It is a living, iterative process through which we can continually monitor our progress (or lack thereof) in order to more effectively communicate, collaborate, and act.
Who Developed the Dashboard?
A stellar six-person team, comprising the MRV Community Dashboard Advisory Committee, worked with MRVPD staff since Fall 2020 to dig through recent MRV visioning efforts, town plan goals, and similar community indicator projects to develop a framework for MRV-specific community indicators, launch the MRV Wellbeing Survey, review the survey’s results, and best communicate all this data back to the community.
Where Does the Dashboard Data Come From?
The Dashboard draws from multiple data sources, including the American Community Survey, VT Housing Finance Agency, Green Mountain Transit, and VT Community Energy Dashboard data, as well as MRVPD’s proprietary data source, the MRV Wellbeing Survey.
What Is the MRV Wellbeing Survey?
The Wellbeing Survey was created to fill in gaps in local qualitative data and to provide a deeper understanding of how the MRV’s people, environment, and economy are doing. The survey explores Overall Life Satisfaction and dives deeper into ten defined domains (such as Community Vitality, Social Connectedness, & Material Wellbeing). Survey questions are based on the Vermont Happiness Study led by the University of Vermont’s Center for Rural Studies, the Vermont State Data Center, and Gross National Happiness USA, which provide a longitudinal point of reference and comparison to MRV-level data. The survey was distributed online and in print during April 2021, and received a total of 416 responses from residents of Warren, Waitsfield and Fayston–about 8% of the MRV’s total population. Survey responses are poised to serve as an important tool for accountability and transparency between elected reps and MRV residents; survey results can improve data-driven decision making to strengthen Valley-wide wellbeing.
What’s Next for the Dashboard and the Wellbeing Survey?
MRVPD hopes the Dashboard will grow to be a widely valued and utilized community resource, and is committed to evolving the online data and available tools to meet feedback and changing community needs. Future iterations will also provide context and resources to connect data points to on-the-ground action and support, ensuring that the MRV’s needs are being prioritized by defining goals and measuring progress. The more you engage with the Dashboard, the better it will become!
Dashboard data will be updated regularly, and MRVPD will be repeating the MRV Wellbeing Survey annually in the spring, with a goal of increasing respondent population diversity. Your voice matters! To be notified of the next survey launch, sign up for the MRVPD newsletter via mrvpd.org.