How does a government measure its own progress?
Using 32 community indicators and 55 performance measures, according to a strategic plan the Vancouver City Council approved earlier this week.
The 60-page plan, which intends to keep the city accountable in improving the lives of its residents, focuses on transportation and mobility; economic opportunity; housing; vibrant and distinct neighborhoods; culture and heritage; safety; climate, and a strong government.
Each of the focus areas addresses one or more of the city’s five core values: livability, equity and inclusion, innovation, sustainability and resiliency, and community trust and relationships.
“Vancouver is growing rapidly and evolving from a suburban to urban destination — the Strategic Plan serves as a touchstone to guide, remind, and provide continuity to staff and city leadership of what is important to the community now and into the future,” City Manager Eric Holmes said in a press release.
City staff spent three years creating the six-year plan. During that period, they created an advisory committee, researched performance measures and engaged with more than 1,000 Vancouver residents.
The reason for the six-year term is to provide continuity to annual city work while still setting smaller, more obtainable goals than the 20-year comprehensive plan.
Each focus area includes community indicators — statistics the city uses to measure community conditions, such as median household income, housing affordability, diversity of businesses and greenhouse gas emissions.
Each focus area also has performance measures, metrics that a city department can work on, such as miles of sidewalks, number of new business licenses, city investments in arts and culture programs and percent of residents with access to high-speed broadband.
“Vancouver is a city on the rise, within the region and the state,” the plan states. “This plan will ensure that we preserve the unique traits that led us all to this place, while we continue to grow and evolve as a community.”
City staff are developing a dashboard to track progress on the performance measures, which will be available in 2024.