If you’re serious about neighborhood restoration as an investment strategy, then you need a way to measure your progress. Large institutions measure neighborhood improvement in terms of job growth, crime rates, new construction, and other signs of an improving economy. You’re probably far too busy to do all of that. Instead, I suggest you just keep an eye on the things you can influence.
In healthy neighborhoods, people feel like they belong and have something at stake.
What Does Neighborhood Restoration Look Like
By decomposing the makeup of healthy neighborhoods, we can identify some traits to watch for signs of progress. Just like your pulse lets your doctor know something about your heath, these indicators give a snapshot view of the neighborhood’s health. Over time, these indicators will trend in a way that expresses progress towards neighborhood restoration.
It’s been my experience that in a healthy neighborhood, residents feel they belong. They have something at stake and exhibit the following characteristics:
Your situation may warrant a different set of indicators, but the process of listing healthy traits, selecting indicators, and measurement tactics should be the same.
The five ways I’m tracking progress in my efforts are:
1 – Looking for signs that neighbors are coordinating and sharing (holiday decorations, kids playing together, etc.)
2 – Using the Rule of Five to quickly find out who neighbors feel are the leaders and the general number of relationships they have with each other
3 – Driving through after 10pm to listen for disturbances
4 – Watching front yards spruce up
5 – Monitoring the number of people attending our annual block parties
Most of the measurement methods are self explanatory except for the Rule of Five polling. In Douglas Hubbard’s book “How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of Intangibles in Business”, he argues that five random observations are all that you need to determine the maximum and minimum of a subject with 93% confidence.
Read How Using the Rule of Five Can Make Landlords Richer for more details.
Using the Rule of Five to Measure Fuzzy Indicators
In my case, at out annual block party, we’ll poll five random people about:
1 – “Who would your reach out to in our neighborhood if you needed help?” – to get an idea of who the leader is.
2 – “How many people do you know on your block?” – to get an idea of the number of connections between residents.
3 – “Do you ever get help from or help out your neighbors?” – to get an idea of cooperation.
Measuring Your Progress Helps You Reach Your Goal
“You get what you measure” is a common business phrase that captures our natural tendency to try to optimize any metric we’re compared against. When you measure the progress towards a neighborhood restoration you make this human trait work in your favor.
Now you have a tool to help you measure the benefit of practicing the 8 Habits of Highly Effective Inner City Landlords. Tout your progress to the local press and create a self-fulfilling story that lifts your property values.