Our Work

Indicators of Downtown Health Receive International Attention

Our Indicators project went to Italy this summer. Elizabeth Reaves, a UVM graduate student and research assistant at the Center for Rural Studies, presented Smart Growth Vermont’s project to build an indicator system to analyze the impacts that new growth and development will have on the health and quality of life in Vermont’s downtowns. She joined over 400 attendees and presenters from 44 countries in Florence, Italy for the 2009 International Society for Quality of Life Studies Conference on “Measures and Goals for the Progress of Societies” this past July. The conference, which is sponsored in part by the Organization for Economic and Community Development and The Council of Europe, brought together academic researchers, public practitioners, and policy makers to discuss the development of metrics to help the world measure the quality of life.

Participants were impressed with Elizabeth’s presentation. “I was so pleased to receive positive feedback about our community based approach to using indicators,” said Elizabeth. “Many of the attendees commented on how often indicator work only happens at a macro level. They were impressed by the applied and practical nature of our indicator work and even more impressed by the tenacity of our downtown organizations in taking on much of the data collection themselves, but that’s Vermont for you.” For more information on this project, go to our website.