I'm starting to worry, a lot, about the local economy of the Washington, DC region
Image: mapping the Regional Capacity Index (UC Berkeley).
The health of the DC economy over the past few years has been pretty good relatively speaking. Currently, the real estate market within DC proper is one of the strongest in the United States, and while housing prices have dropped down from the stratospheric heights of a few years ago, relatively speaking the city is reasonably healthy economically, rising in population after decades of decline, and adding a significant number of new housing units.
... we measured resilience as a capacity to do well, a capacity to cope with an unknown future challenge. It was a generalized index of the kind of factors that have been hypothesized to matter for responding well to a crisis. The resilience capacity index identifies and uses 12 factors that are thought of as the kinds of factors that would make you more resilient in the face of a crisis. ...We made three categories and there are four factors in each category:
Regional Economic Capacity
Diversification - The familiar notion that if you’re going to be resilient, you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket in terms of the economy. It gives preference to the economy that is diversified, rather than specialized.
Business Environment - This is a general index that incorporates factors such as small business churn, venture capital and characteristics that have to do with broadband access. It’s a general index for innovation.
Regional Affordability - This is a measure that relates housing costs to median income, so you get a sense of how affordable this place is. More affordable places tend to be more resilient because you don’t have so many people stretched to the limit.
Income Equality - This is a measure of the degree to which the distribution of incomes in your region isn’t skewed.
Educational Attainment - The degree to which you have people that have an education tends to mean more opportunities available to them.
Without a Disability - The percentage of the population that does not have a disability. A disability can be, especially for an acute crisis, particularly challenging.
Being out of Poverty - People with more means, more resources at hand, will have more opportunity to cope in a challenge.
Proportion of Population that has Health Insurance - This is a generalized measure. In the moment of a crisis, if you have health insurance you have more availability of care. Also, it’s a general measure of how stable people are in that region. A large proportion of the population without health insurance is a vulnerability for that region.
Civic Infrastructure - A measure of the civic organizations in the community. It’s a proxy for civic engagement for the people in that area.
Home Ownership - This is a basic measure for connectivity. As a general rule, home ownership signals a real commitment to place.
Voter Participation - A standard measure that’s often used to signal activity and interest.
Metropolitan Stability - This is the measure of the stability in one residence in a place for a number of years. Places that have a lot of mobility, or people moving around, tend to be less resilient. You’re not as familiar with the place, so in a shock you might not know the escape route. Also, metropolitan stability lets you know who your neighbors are.
Note that I do think that measuring this data at the metropolitan scale is too gross-grained, and measurements at the jurisdictional level could be more useful, at least in terms of regional planning.