Downtown Dash RunnersGlendale is a community that has high expectations for the quality of life and services enjoyed by residents, businesses and visitors. These expectations can best be met if they are memorialized and periodically evaluated. The community has set these expectations and the City of Glendale is committed to partnering with residents and institutions to address them. This endeavor includes providing valuable information about services, finances and systems in a way that is measurable and meaningful to assess the overall health of the community.

Quality of Life Indicators are guides which are intended to give some reflection of the health of the larger community. Demographics data, reports and surveys from within a community’s systems are represented and often show changes and trends over time. Indicators are most commonly used to revitalize communities, build community participation, set priorities, and track progress of a community’s growth toward reaching and sustaining a healthy environment.

The Purpose: Building a Sustainable Community

In 1995, several members of the Glendale Healthier Community Coalition (GHCC) began requesting statistical information for the purpose of identifying unmet community needs and establishing programs that address those topics. The group understood that researching the issues was fundamental to finding solutions and realized that such a report was not available. This need culminated in an effort to prepare a report which would measure and analyze the overall health of the city.

The GHCC then convened a group of community members from health agencies, Glendale Unified School District, local merchants, residents and City staff that was organized by the Neighborhood Services Administrator Sam Engel to meet to discuss what types of community health “indicators” should be included in such a report. This eclectic yet vocal group became known as the Quality of Life Indicators Work Group. This group spent many hours isolating community concerns and reviewing information to determine which activities and issues contributed to the quality of life (either positively or negatively) of Glendale residents. This effort was funded in part with a grant by the California Department of Health and Human Services.

In 2001, Neighborhood Services underwent an expansion in staffing and services. Included in this expansion, was an analyst who assumed responsibility to complete this project. Suzana Delis reconvened the group, re-vamped the indicators, collected and analyzed the data, and the first 2002 Quality of Life Indicators report was published.

The first edition of the Quality of Life Indicators report established broad topics and individual indicators by which Glendale’s overall quality of life could be quantified and measured. It was intended that the report be updated periodically, although no formal plan was adopted to maintain or update the document.

The Process: Public Input

Since the report was released, elected officials, community organizers, advocacy groups and concerned residents have referenced the data collected to draw attention to areas of concern throughout the community. Nearly one thousand copies of the report were distributed and it was made available to the public on the City’s website. After several years, it became evident to the public that the initial report needed to be updated to assist residents and groups with assessing goals and measuring outcomes, over time. Glendale City Council responded by requesting Neighborhood Services to carry out this project a second time.

In an effort to continue with the tradition of public involvement, a new steering committee was formed again in 2009 to re-evaluate the information being measured and request additional data is added to the report. Once again, Neighborhood Services Administrator Sam Engel reconvened a group of interested community members and staff.

Quality of Life Indicator Member Organizations include:

Neighborhood Services Administrative Analyst Suzana Delis once again coordinated the project, collected and analyzed the data, and this time, with advancements in computer technology and working with Neighborhood Services Public Outreach staff, has provided immediate access to this data online, which may continue to be updated as needed.

Indicators include Location & People; Physical Environment; Health & Well Being; Smoking, Alcohol & Drug Abuse; Smoking, Alcohol & Drug Abuse; Education & Learning; Economics & Employment; Housing Resources; Transportation & Mobility; Parks & Open Space; Arts, Culture & Recreation; Civic Participation & Assets; Community Safety.

The Future: Goals

The public meetings provided members of the community an opportunity to request that additional information be added to the updated report. In several cases, staff determined that while the requested information would be valuable and would strengthen the Indicators report, it was not being collected or researched or the data was not available via existing sources. In order to improve the quality of future indicator assessments, some recommendations were made to the City Council once the report was completed.

The Data Research & Site Development Team

The City of Glendale Neighborhood Services Division has served as the repository of information and resources for the community. Traditionally, residents, merchants and visitors have called or visited the Division in a quest for information about a multitude of community issues and to connect with their local government. As providers of information, linking the community to municipal staff and services, Neighborhood Services was requested to furnish the initial report and update. Data collection, analysis, website design and programming tasks are fundamental to this project. Four Neighborhood Services staff members subsequently undertook this important responsibility.

  • Suzana Delis, Indicators Project Coordinator and Data Analyst
  • Nazeli Pogosyan, Indicators Intern Data Researcher
  • Taylor Vallone, Indicators Website Programmer
  • Jaixen Webb, Indicators Graphic Designer

The 2009 Quality of Life Indicators Report has been previewed to the Update Committee and the Glendale Healthier Communities Coalition. The full report was presented to City Council and the Housing Authority at the Joint Meeting held on November 3, 2009 at 2:30PM at 613 E. Broadway in the Council Chambers.

For more information about the project or to schedule a viewing of the report, contact Neighborhood Services at (818) 548-3700.