Mikaela Bolling is Equinox Project Manager at Center for Sustainable Energy.

In 2016, San Diego County had more beach closures than in any of the past five years. We experienced a massive sewage spill in February 2017 that sent millions of gallons of untreated wastewater from Mexico into the Tijuana River and along the border shoreline.

Our pristine, beautiful, clean beaches are just one of the vital components of our environment in San Diego, but their condition is representative of a larger quality of life concern – what doesn’t get measured, doesn’t get managed.

However, many local residents like those in Imperial Beach, who were the first to discover the February sewage spill after reporting the foul odors to officials, are very aware of the quality of life issues present in their neighborhoods. Yet in other neighborhoods residents often are less aware of local issues and may not be convinced of the magnitude of San Diego challenges.

Without transparent data and unbiased facts, it’s sometimes hard to get others to listen or even care.

Enter the San Diego Regional Quality of Life Dashboard.

Presented by the Equinox Project at the Center for Sustainable Energy, and supported by partners such as The San Diego Foundation, the dashboard records data and details about the county’s environmental and economic well-being on an ongoing basis so that decision-makers, businesses, community groups and citizens can become aware and better educated about our regional challenges and how best to address them with solutions.

In short, the Quality of Life Dashboard aims to answer a subjective question objectively: Is our quality of life improving?

Quality of life in San Diego County is sometimes hard to quantify because San Diegans base quality of life on different things, such as the cost of buying a first home, transportation options going to work, cleaner beaches, access to more and better-paying jobs or having cleaner air. That’s why the dashboard breaks down quality of life into 15 categories. This allows users to assess if their quality of life is improving based on the issues they consider the most important.

The Quality of Life Dashboard not only features data but also highlights innovative projects and policy recommendations spearheaded by organizations helping to improve our region. The Quality of Life Dashboard is a resource for:

  • Policymakers, providing the latest information, data and trends about the region’s sustainability so they can make informed decisions to better protect our beaches and open spaces, increase public transportation alternatives and make housing more affordable.
  • Businesses to use to attract a more talented workforce to the region, demonstrating that San Diego is a great place to live, work and play.
  • Community and advocacy groups, supplying essential data and facts that can be used to better advocate for change.
  • Citizens, serving as a one-stop shop to learn more about our county. To find out areas in which our region is excelling and in what areas we need to improve.

As a collaborative and community-funded resource, we need your input and support to keep the dashboard available for future users.

We want you to tell us about the plans and projects you’re working on to improve quality of life so we can feature your successes. We welcome your input and encourage you to contact us about getting more involved in partnering on the dashboard.

We also welcome your financial support to continue to keep everyone informed and up to date about the qualities that make San Diego great.

This is a resource for San Diego County – a resource for you, your children and grandchildren.

Help us ensure it remains the most influential and meaningful environmental and economic resource.

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Mikaela Bolling is Equinox Project Manager at Center for Sustainable Energy.