City of Worcester, MA in the winter

Impact - ComNET (Computerized Neighborhood Environment Tracking) - Physical Conditions of Neighborhoods

Photo of a neighborhood in Worcester MassachusettsIn 2001, The Research Bureau established the Center for Community Performance Measurement (CCPM) with a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to benchmark municipal and community performance in Worcester for the five goals of Worcester's strategic plan: to improve economic development, municipal and neighborhood services, public education, public safety, and youth services.

Since the physical condition of neighborhoods has a serious impact on residents' quality of life and on the perception of visitors to the City, ComNET, or Computerized Neighborhood Environment Tracking, is a tool used to measure the effectiveness of municipal services that affect the infrastructure and appearance of neighborhoods including the streets, sidewalks, refuse, abandoned vehicles, buildings, and vegetation. The CCPM adapted the ComNET program, originally developed by the Fund for the City of New York's Center on Municipal Government Performance, for the City of Worcester. In collaboration with neighborhood associations across the City, the CCPM has trained over 100 resident volunteers in 14 of Worcester's most economically- and socially-challenged neighborhoods over the past 7 years to use handheld computers and digital cameras to systematically record various physical problems.

During the survey, neighborhood residents are paired with Holy Cross and South High students to walk predetermined routes through each neighborhood and record the exact location of the physical problems and assets in the area. The information is then compiled and transmitted to the municipal departments and organizations that are responsible for addressing these problems. The survey is repeated on a regular basis to track the problems that were recorded in previous surveys and thus determine whether the overall physical condition of neighborhoods is improving.

Citywide Results:

As of December 2008, The Research Bureau has partnered with residents and students to conduct 59 surveys in neighborhoods throughout the City. The surveys cover 180 street miles, and the neighborhoods surveyed are home to about 1/3 of the City's population (55,000 residents). Some of our findings include:  

All reports are available as a PDF downloadPDF icon and Microsoft Excel PDF iconspreadsheet, unless otherwise noted. Click here to download the free Adobe Reader application.

 

Neighborhood Results (as of December 2008):

Bell Hill 

Unresolved Problems
Results Summary

Brittan Square

Unresolved Problems
Results Summary

Brown Square

Unresolved Problems
Results Summary

College Hill

Unresolved Problems
Results Summary

Columbus Park

Unresolved Problems
Results Summary

Crown Hill/Elm Park

Unresolved Problems - Crown Hill
Unresolved Problems - Elm Park
Results Summary

Crystal Park

Unresolved Problems
Results Summary

Downtown

Unresolved Problems
Results Summary

Green Island

Unresolved Problems
Results Summary

Main Middle

Unresolved Problems
Results Summary

Quinsigamond Village

Unresolved Problems - Quinsigamond Village
Unresolved Problems - Quinsigamond Village South
Results Summary

South Worcester 

Unresolved Problems
Results Summary

Union Hill

Unresolved Problems
Results Summary

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