Indicators are a way to measure progress on economic and social goals. Indicators describe observed societal problems or assets and help represent a normative stance on related issues.
Based on a comprehensive review of the most recent literature on human development, we selected eight indicators that form the basis of our analysis. We looked to organizations that are known for conducting innovative social science research, including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Brookings Institution, the United Way, the American Human Development Project, and the Glasgow Indicators Project. In addition, we consulted with the LA2050 Academic Advisory Committee to ensure that we identified the most relevant measures. Every data-set and visualization on this website is credited with the appropriate source(s).
The ratings were informed by our research and in consultation with the LA2050 Academic Advisory Committee. To be clear, they are not meant to imply any numeric calculation or weighted score. They are based on the available data and provide only a high-level overview of each of the eight indicators.
We should note that these ratings will vary substantially within the county because of differing demographic, socioeconomic, and geographic factors. In the county’s affluent communities, most of these indicators would earn much higher ratings. In the poorest neighborhoods, many would receive the lowest designation. The dashboard provides a snapshot of where Los Angeles stands today as a whole, but it doesn't account for the vast diversity of experiences that characterize the region. That said, it is a simple reference point against which we can chart the LA that we’d like to see in 2050.
Many of LA2050’s supporters, contributors, and advisors have questioned the omission of transportation as a key indicator in this document. Before this report was authored, we had every intention of including transportation as a measure of well-being, given its importance in shaping how people experience their environs. We assumed that a robust transportation network that provides residents with a bevy of mobility options would be a key indicator of quality of life. However, an exhaustive literature review and consultation with transportation experts did not support these assumptions.
LA2050 Academic Advisor and transportation expert Dr. Martin Wachs suggests that, "transportation should be contextualized as a means to an end. It’s hard to measure the quality of life by calculating transportation costs or the amount of time spent in congestion. Instead, we should look at transportation as a means to achieving other goals. For instance, transportation affects access to health care, housing, jobs, education, and other services."
People live where they do because they want to get a quality education, a good job, an affordable home, and maintain (or build new) social ties. Transportation helps accomplish these goals. For more details, please see the LA2050 Report, Page 5.
The superscript numbers on this site correspond to the endnotes placed at the end of the report, which is available for download here.
Download the report here.
The My LA2050 Challenge is now closed. Please see the challenge page here for more details, and to learn about the selected grantees.
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