What is Greater Portland Pulse?
Greater Portland Pulse (GPP) is a growing partnership anchored by PSU’s Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies and Metro. Its objective is to identify the outcomes most important to the well-being of our region and to establish a set of measures that track our progress toward those outcomes. GPP provides a common set of regional measures of the state of our economy, the condition of our environment and the health and well-being of our people and empowers the Portland-Vancouver community by allowing for data-driven decision making.
Created through a ‘bottom-up’ regional stakeholder process, GPP provides users with timely and continuously updated data, visualizations of data and trends through maps and graphics. The GPP website is easily accessible, straightforward and user-friendly.
Who decided what to measure?
GPP engaged a broad set of community members in the process of deciding what outcomes were important to measure and how to measure them. We began by identifying nine functional areas—called “topics”—that captured the most important components of our region’s well-being. Then we formed “results teams” —one for each topic—and asked them to identify the most important outcomes for the topic and the factors that drive those outcomes. They then identified the best data for tracking those outcomes in order to form the indicators shown by Greater Portland Pulse.
Along the way, the results teams were guided by the Advisory Team and the Equity Panel. The Advisory Team responded to the proposals of the results teams and helped them think through the key outcomes and drivers. The Equity Panel challenged the results teams to consider whether the data are broadly representative of the experiences of the region’s residents.
Data are unavailable for many outcomes the teams wanted to measure. Where the teams feel the importance is high but the data unavailable, they identified the desired indicator as “developmental.” We will work in the future on developing the data needed to track these important outcomes.
How will GPP help our region?
Beyond measurement, indicators provide a road map for action. GPP provides a way to track progress toward a vision of desired outcomes shared by many partners and stakeholders.
GPP creates a common understanding and intention to improve economic, social and environmental well-being over time.
- GPP engages people around choosing, measuring and using indicators and indicator data.
- The GPP database offers accurate, reliable and neutral data that are open to all parties, reducing the expense and inefficiencies of existing data efforts across the region.
- Using GPP is about action to improve results, using the data to help focus and align partners, coordinating action and tracking results over time in order to assess strategies that drive change.
Short term, GPP offers an immediate ability to improve decision-making and stakeholder/partner alignment. Long term, through improved decision-making and alignment, GPP can keep the region on track in achieving desired outcomes for equitable, prosperous, and sustainable communities.
Who will use GPP, and how will they use it?
- For elected leaders, GPP data and decision tools help them to act more strategically and collaboratively.
- For foundations, GPP offers a ready-made set of data for analysis, priority-setting, and program evaluation.
- For public agencies, GPP will help governments understand their relationship to community goals and re-align their work accordingly.
- For business leaders, GPP offers interconnected regional data to evaluate strategic business decisions.
- For grant writers and planners, GPP provides access to a one-stop shop of regional and local data on an array of outcomes.
- For the public, GPP provides access to a user-friendly data system about the quality of life in the region.
What are the next steps?
As we move forward, we will develop the long-term structure and funding for the organization, including updating and refreshing the data and website and convening partners to continue the dialogue needed to make the data useful.
What's happening with GPP now?
All of our indicators are updated when new data becomes available. During the summer of 2013 we will be adding more municipal level data to the site.
FREE Visualization workshops help community members learn how to interpret the data on Greater Portland Pulse. Participants also learn how to customize and download the data.
In addition to the workshops, GPP staff work in the community to encourage use of data to support civic governance and encourage data-driven decision-making.
How can I get involved?
- Endorse our effort The endorsement page offers you the opportunity to signal your support and your agreement that this project is important for the future well-being of our region.
- Provide Feedback Let us know your reactions to the report and the information on our site.
- Tell us how you are using the data Go to our Data Stories page and let us know how you are using the data to support your work.
- Invite us to speak to a group you are involved with to let more people know about the project or about the region.
- Subscribe to RSS feed so you are alerted to new content on web site.
- Sign up for our mailing list to receive email news from GPP.
- Like us on Facebook find out when data is updated and read stories explaining the connection between different indicators.
- Follow us on Twitter Receive daily tweets about our region.
- Sign up for a Workshop Greater Portland Pulse is home to over 100 data sets, all displayed in a variety of different interactive visualizations. The sheer amount of data on the website, as well as the technology used to display it, can often seem overwhelming—for this reason, Greater Portland Pulse hosts free, public workshops that cover everything from navigating the website to downloading, customizing, and even creating your own visualizations.