The Triple Bottom Line
The West Michigan region consists of 1.4 million people surrounding Grand Rapids, Holland, and Muskegon.
West Michigan is an incredible place. We live in a place with great natural beauty, filled with people who have a strong work ethic, caring hearts and the ingenuity to create economic opportunity.
But, change is a constant and not all change is for the better.
Our economy, environment and society in general are under constant pressures to change. We’ve seen population growth put pressure on the environment. We’ve seen the negative result of global pressures on our manufacturing sector. And the pressures of a downturn in the economy are evident in a rise in the need for social services.
If we are to know how West Michigan is changing, we need to step back and look at hard data from a regional perspective.
WMSA and partners have begun development of a set of regional indicators that will offer clear, tangible standards by which to measure the sustainability and quality of life in the West Michigan region.
West Michigan Regional Indicators are specific measurements which provide a picture of West Michigan over time. These 15 indicators, based on Elements of Sustainable Quality of Life (pdf), are a tool to measure what our region looks like and report on how things are changing. Indicators are used to measure trends in social, economic and environmental systems and help people see the bigger picture through small details. They offer a sense of direction for additional research, planning, advocacy, and perhaps, most important, action --action toward positive community changes.
The initial focus of data gathering for this project will be the four counties of Allegan,Kent, Muskegon and Ottawa. We plan to incorporate data from Barry,Ionia, Montcalm and Newaygo counties in the future.