Governance Indicator #1: Effectiveness of Planning

The idea behind this indicator of governance, Effectiveness of Planning, was to evaluate how effectively our municipal government sees projects through – from research, to consultation, to approval, to funding, to completion.

As is often the case, no one data source fully captures this intent.  Looking at citizen satisfaction data provides a good start, however, given two assumptions:

  • Citizen satisfaction is one criteria for how effectively a project is implemented, and conversely,
  • Citizens are satisfied, at least in part, by effectiveness (as opposed to other factors, like really good public relations campaigns).

Land Use Planning Survey

We chose data on satisfaction with Land Use Planning from the City of Calgary’s Citizen Satisfaction Survey for this indicator, in part because so much of Land Use Planning is project- (rather than operations-) based.  Again, this indicator isn’t a comprehensive measure of effectiveness, but a reasonable indicator of effectiveness based on the data that is currently available.

As you can see in the graph above, citizen satisfaction has been on an upward swell since 2009, currently sitting at 77% of survey respondents who are satisfied or very satisfied.  While there is still a lot of room for improvement (Where’s that 100%, City of Calgary, huh?), this indicator gets a Sustainable Calgary smiley face from me based on improvement.

Why has satisfaction with Land Use Planning been improving so much over the last several years?  We don’t have more survey data to provide definitive answers, but perhaps looking at the policies, programs and projects that have come into existence since 2009 could shed some light on this.  These include:

  • The launch of Transforming Planning initiative, a “partnership to design and deliver a high-performance planning system”
  • The approval of Plan It Calgary, a long-term plan for sustainable growth, including a new Municipal Development Plan (MDP) and Calgary Transportation Plan (CTP).
  • The approval of the Keystone Hills Area Structure Plan
  • The introduction of limits to municipal campaign contributions
  • The City budget consultation
  • The increase in value of building permits issued (according to Annual Reports)
  • The opening of the Peace bridge
  • The opening of the new West LRT line

Did any of these changes to City Planning strike your fancy?  Not so much?  Feel free to let us know in our comments section!  On my end, I’d love to see more on the outcomes of the plans described above, such as Plan It Calgary.  Some outcomes have been released on its Calgary Transportation Plan, and can be found here.

If you are interested in the City’s overall performance and/or performance on operations, here are several more stats from the 2012 Citizen Satisfaction Survey:

  • 95% of Calgarians surveyed feel that the overall performance of the City of Calgary is good or very good (upward trend)
  • 96% feel the overall quality of City services is good or very good (upward trend)
  • 81% are satisfied overall with City programs and services (upward trend)
  • 62%  feel that the value of their property taxes is of “good value” (upward trend)

For more on what the City has accomplished this year – from finances, to city playgrounds replaced, parks redeveloped, composting pilot project piloted, fire stations opened, and LRT lines constructed – check out the City’s 2012 Annual Report.  It’s quite well-designed and readable!

Thanks for tuning in, and look for our results on Cultural Diversity in Leadership positions tomorrow!

Posted in News, State of Our City and tagged , , , , , , .