One of the greatest opportunities before us is aligning our financial system with our local living systems — with our people, our culture and our natural environment. Currently, if you map out out and make visible our “financial ecosystems” you will find that the incentives in those systems are often at odds with what optimizes the living systems and build wealths locally. Bringing transparency to our financial systems and living systems within a place and finding opportunities to realign is an activity worth considering.
Data in your local area is typically collected by enterprises and agencies responsible for public and private operations and investment. Many years ago, I created a taxonomy of local investment categories to describe the basic areas of data collection.
1. Adult Education/Community College/College/Training
2. Agriculture and Food
3. Arts & Culture
4. Child Care
5. Courts & Judiciary
6. Economic Development
7. Energy (gas, electric, nuclear, solari, wind other)
8. Fire and Emergency Services
9. Health Care
11. K-12 Education
12. Land, Weather and Natural Resources
14. People Who’s Who: People Who Live and Work in Our Neighborhood and Our Core Competencies
15. Military, National Guard, Troopers, Sheriff, Police, Enforcement, Prosecution & Public Safety
17. Sewer and Garbage
18. Social Services
19. Sports and Recreation
20. Taxes, Time, Regulatory Powers and Assets Paid/Given to Federal, State and Local Government
23. Jurisdictions and Boundaries: Who and What Are We a Part of?
24. Risk Issues
25. Neighborhood Balance of Trade: Imports/Exports
26. Total Debt Per Person: Federal, State, Local, Consumer, Mortgage and Other
27. Parking Lot
An introduction to some of the key economics literacy you need to understand your local economy and to make sense of all the data available, see my curriculum Economics 101.
For an example of what communities are doing to build local literacy, see the many reports in the US on Consolidated Financial Reports. Participatory budgeting is a very interesting idea that emerged from the economic problems in Latin America. Check it out here. I always thought that community questing would be a great way to learn the economic history and assets of our communities. See: Questing: A Guide to Creating Community Treasure Hunts.