TVM for PLACE
Generic Urban Neighbourhood
How does TVM work in an urban neighborhood?
The quick answer is very well. The easy data about a neighborhood may be obtained by walking around ... and the data may then be organized to tell the story. Easy data is all that most TV news programs ever use ... a story emerges from a few video clips.
Data acquisition .... compiling easy data.
East data are all the simple facts that someone familiar with the place takes for granted because they see them every day ... but truly define the nature of the place. Some of the easy data impressions that need to be compiled include:
All of the easy data are associated with a time and place. The data are also associated with the source of the data ... usually the person collecting the data or perhaps data that have already been compiled by others. Data acquisition has two steps:
- Roads ... what sort of roads? What is the condition of the roads? What traffic is on the roads?
- Buildings ... what sort of buildings? What is the condition of the buildings? Are they well maintained? Is there graffiti?
- People ... what sort of people are visible? Where do they work? Where do they live? How do they occupy themselves ... entertain themselves?
- How prosperous are the people?
- Are people busy ... or just hanging around?
- Infrastructure ... what is the water situation?
- Infrastructure ... what is the sewage / water treatment situation?
- Infrastructure ... what is the electricity situation?
- Infrastructure ... what is the telecom situation?
- Business ... what sort of business activities? Do the businesses look successful?
- Retail business ... what sort of retail business? Does retail business look successful?
- Manufacturing / workshops ... what sort of manufacturing and workshop work is being done?
- Agriculture ... is there any? What sort of agriculture? Where does food come from?
- Banking and financial services? Is there access to adequate banking services? Is there any community based bank or alternative sources of banking services?
- Jobs ... what jobs are there and where? Are the people in the community working in the community or commuting somewhere else?
- Entertainment ... what sort of entertainment facilities are to be seen? What cinemas and theaters are there?
- Sports ... what sporting facilities are there?
- Restaurants ... what sort of restaurants?
- Hotels ... what sort of hotels?
- Crime ... is the community safe? How much crime? What types of crime?
- Police ... what is the reputation of the police?
- Courts ... are there any courts in the community or are they remote?
- Fire service ... how is the fire protection service organized.
- Governance ... what are the critical elements of governance in the community
- Education ... what schools are there? What about pre-school for young children? What about after-school for older children? What about primary school performance? What about secondary school performance?
- What about college?
- What about the level of education in the community
- Health ... what health infrastructure is there? What about clinics? What about hospitals? What about doctors and nurses?
- What about the health status or the people in the community?
- Places of worship ... are there any churches, mosques or synagogues?
In a typical media story the easy data and video clips goes into a story ... and that is the end. In TVM ... these data are the start.
- Putting the data into a simple text format ... describing a single fact briefly using the character limits of an SMS text message
- Assessing (1) how good or bad this is; and (2) how important this is.
The time dimension ... trends ... changes
The next stage is to get some appreciation how the facts that are easy and seem important now have changed over time. Some of this might be obtained by personal memory or by talking to people who remember the past.
What happened? Why?
- What do the buildings tell you ... sometimes the buildings tell stories that go back 100 years ... or tell about what has recently happened.
- Industrial buildings tell part of a story ... a story about jobs and economic activity.
- Residential buildings tell about the people ... how people lived.
- What do empty buildings boarded up tell you ... or new houses with new cars in the driveway ... or a new school being built?
- Infrastructure tells another part of the old story ... an old railroad, for example.
It becomes pretty obvious what happened when the easy data are organized fairly systematically. The data drive conclusions.
What happened is usually easier than why things happened. However, the conclusions are usually pretty obvious ... but when they are not it is usually because multiple factors are at work. When there are multiple causal factors it is usual that there need to be multiple initiatives to achieve positive progress.
What future? How?
The value of TVM is not the data themselves ... but the use of data to help improve the future. What could the community be like if all the right things were done?
Thinking about the future is complex ... it should be done as a continuum of thinking and dialog. Most people are scared of change ... even though change is needed and will, by almost any measure, result in a better situation ... good people will resist change.
Abrupt change is almost never successful ... rather change that has consensus and moves modestly in the right direction works.
Strategic direction is needed ... a long term vision ... which should be transparent ... but not rigid.
Identifying constraints is critical ... and getting constraints removed. This is not always easy because many constraints are outside the control of the community.
When a large industrial factory closes ... the community has little or no control over the decision ... but the impact on the community is huge. The TVM metrics help to quantify this ... and make the remote decision makers more accountable for the impact of their decisions than they are now.
What value is all this?
Better decisions are possible with better data. Decision makers may be held accountable when there is good data that has credibility and is independently validated. In sports ... good teams win ... and everyone knows they have won because there is scorekeeping and the scorekeeping is reliable, clear and independent. A successful community with good quality of life has value that is so much more than a community that is failing ... good TVM data helps to move a community towards success.
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