Columbus Vibrant and Connected Dashboard
The Columbus 2025 Initiative of the Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley developed five areas of focus. The Vibrant and Connected Places Committee leads efforts to collaborate across state lines to further promote activation of the Chattahoochee Riverfront through the region’s core. The committee is made up of a diverse group of regional stakeholders with a variety of personal and professional roles, including arts groups, alternative transportation advocates, planners, municipal officials, representatives from nearby Fort Benning, and others.
The Vibrant and Connected Places Committee wanted to develop a tool to better measure the impact of investments in the area on a host of outcomes related to vibrancy and connectedness. Fourth Economy suggested accomplishing this through the development of a web-based dashboard, through which data could be gathered from a variety of sources — including local organizations, the City of Columbus, and publicly available sources — and analysis could be made available to the public. By presenting this work publicly, we aimed to give people an opportunity to understand the work of the Vibrant and Connected Places Committee, gauge progress based on the metrics reported in the dashboard, and draw their own insights from the data analysis.
Fourth Economy worked with representatives of the committee to determine what outcomes to focus on, what data to gather, and how to visualize the output in a clear and compelling way. We hosted public engagement activities and conducted a public survey to understand how the public viewed vibrancy and connectedness in the community, how challenges varied across neighborhoods within Columbus, and what types of metrics would have the most resonance or impact.
Using the results of our public engagement and working closely with representatives of the committee, we created a four-part framework to organize the analysis in the dashboard. We collected and visualized data in these categories, added narrative to describe the process and takeaways from the analysis, and worked with Columbus 2025 leadership to publicize the resulting dashboard.
The dashboard was well received by regional press and local stakeholders following its November 2019 release. Columbus 2025 continues to maintain and update the dashboard, adding new data and analysis as it becomes available, so that the tool will continue to be used by local leaders and stakeholders to gauge the impact of placemaking investments in Columbus.