Community Surveys

When someone mentioned this morning that every month 'they turn away 30-40 people for Section 8 vouchers' in her city, I felt ready to give up. I was reminded that I haven't taken the pulse of the city I work in (or live in) for a long time.

How to do that? Some people seem to have a knack for this. I do not. I don't know what's happening on any given Friday night, and I don't know what the housing market is like (except that my property taxes have risen a LOT since I moved here three years ago). I know the schools are in rough shape, that the mayor has a book club for teens, and that the community's garden is lovely in the summer, but I couldn't tell you if crime or construction is rising or not.

But the guys at my local hardware store would be able to tell me!

The West Metro Section of the newspaper just happens to be (!) online, and I can subscribe to it in a (!) RSS feed. And, of course, I could take the time to browse through the local weekly neighborhood papers too. Or the cities' websites. Or I could catch up on my twin cities-related blogs.

The Metropolitan Council presents some (mostly old) data (based on the census) on communities in the metro region, and MNPRO presents community profiles as a marketing tool for those looking to expand their business in Minnesota. There's some useful information there, but not really what I have in mind.

So, I will conduct an experiment this week. I will actively try to take the pulse of the city I live in. If I remember to do this, I'll report back. If I forget, well, then, I won't.

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