One way citizens can become connected and inspired to create a better community is by orienting around data. Since its beginnings in 2001, SCOPE has devoted itself to bringing the community of Sarasota County together around data through:
- 2014 Community Report Card
- 2013 Data Sampler - what can a map tell us
- Annual community report cards
- People Count reports of census data, and
- Study group reports on various community challenges.
Through these efforts, people who live and work throughout Sarasota County have joined together to clarify and reflect upon local, present-day realities. In these ways, the community has been able to better identify next steps and take action for positive change.
In 2010, SCOPE conducted a review of local community data efforts conducted over the past decade and generated a data resource known as the Community Indicators “Deck of Cards,” which combined trend-line and GIS mapped data for a subset of indicators across the various domains of community well-being. It also initiated a community “rebooting” process in order to clarify community indicators that matter most to people in Sarasota County, and to facilitate the formation and development of a Community Data Collaborative.
Over the course of 2011 and 2012, SCOPE facilitated a series of six workshops throughout Sarasota County. The purpose of these workshops was to increase awareness of local community data resources, gather the perspectives of people who live and work throughout Sarasota County, and increase the involvement of local citizens in the Community Data Collaborative.
An interactive “Green Map” of sustainability features is available online at www.scgov.net/greenmap. The interactive mapping tool provides residents and visitors with information on sustainable community resources and aspects, such as ways to find local produce, locate green hotels or check out the solar installations in their neighborhood.
As a community tool, the Sarasota County Green Map will continue to grow and change as residents use and add to it. “The new Sarasota County Green Map encourages you to engage with the green places in our community in brand new ways.” said Aubrey Phillips, administrative manager with Sarasota County Extension. “Visitors can suggest new sites, share comments and photos, and describe how places have impacted them, bringing to light the connections between neighbors and neighborhoods.
There are currently more than 4,000 existing sites on the Green Map, including 1,906 on solar energy, 822 on Florida-friendly landscaping, 137 on green buildings and 130 on green businesses. Other aspects include alternative health resources, organic and local food, park and recreation areas and libraries. Residents and businesses are encouraged to suggest additional sustainability resources or comment on those already featured.
The map is a collaborative effort between Sarasota County, the University of Florida (UF)/IFAS Extension and SCOPE (Sarasota County Openly Plans for Excellence). Laurel Corrao, GIS analyst at SCOPE, believes that this effort is particularly important to local community engagement efforts around sustainability. “I can’t wait to see all the new ways Sarasota County residents share and get excited about ‘green-centric’ data on the new Green Map,” said Corrao.
The Sarasota County Green Map is part of the award-winning global Green Map System, which supports locally led Green Map projects in encouraging environmental awareness and sustainability consciousness. Today, there are more than 400 Green Map projects in 51 countries to help people locate sustainable urban and rural places and institutions.
For more information, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 941-861-5000 or visit www.scgov.net.
A Community Video Campaign
Happiness matters. More and more people are studying happiness both as a topic of academic inquiry and a new approach to finding solutions.
The King of Bhutan measures the GNH – Gross National Happiness – of his country, considering it to be a better picture of the well-being of his citizens than the GNP (Gross National Product). Bhutan assesses psychological well-being, community vitality, environmental quality and time balance as holistic indicators of progress.
The Happiness Matters Community Video Campaign is a resident-led community change initiative focused on the qualities of life that residents in Sarasota County care about. We’ll be listening to the community to hear where we are thriving and what that says about the kind of community we want to live in.
How to contribute: We invite you to tell us a story about an experience in Sarasota County that made you happy. Grab your phone or video camera and tell us a story of something that made you happy here in Sarasota County in a short 60-second video. Please include your first name and tell us what neighborhood and/or city you live in.
- Stop by the SCOPE offices and tell your story to our video camera!
- To be included in the Sarasota County Community Video Gallery on SCOPE’s website, send your video to firstname.lastname@example.org with a signed release.
Following the lead of Sarasota County residents, the local knowledge and wisdom shared through these videos highlight the qualities of life that matter and the kind of community we want to live in. We’ll be highlighting your stories at the “Hi-Tech, Hi-Touch Workshops” in August.
This mindset of looking at the whole picture of community well-being is what the SCOPE Community Data Initiative is all about. Community Data is both the expert knowledge that is collected about us and the public knowledge of what life is like here. The Sarasota County Happiness Community Video Campaign is a resident-led community change initiative