This story appeared Sunday in some of the Observers regional sections.
Do you know how many people in your neighborhood recycle? Or how many preschool programs are available in your area? What about your communitys violent crime rate?
Six meetings will be held across Mecklenburg County this month to explain how you can find that kind of information on the 2012 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Quality of Life Study, a report that shows a wide range of information about more than 400 neighborhoods around Charlotte.
UNC Charlotte, the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County conduct the study every two years. This year, for the first time, the study included information about the towns of Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, Pineville, Matthews and Mint Hill.
Also new this year is a Web-based dashboard tool to make navigating the information easier for users.
Timmothy Tibbs, assistant to the county manager, said the public meetings will help residents understand how to use the dashboard, which includes maps showing neighborhood data such as residential housing density, crime rates and the presence of grocery stores, pharmacies, schools and health care. Environmental factors like tree canopy, water consumption, a bicycle friendliness index and recycling participation rates are also available.
In the past, the study ranked neighborhoods as stable, transitioning or challenged according to 20 variables within the dimensions of social, physical, economic and crime conditions.
But the 2012 report eliminated the neighborhood rankings and examines the eight areas of community character; community economics; community engagement; education; environment; community health; housing and community safety using an expanded 80 variables.
Residents can create reports specific to their neighborhood to help guide plans, depending on what issues they deem most important to quality of life.
The study started in 1993, Tibbs said, and putting the current report online will make finding neighborhood-specific data easier than flipping through a 200-plus page paper copy.
According to the county, library officials will be trained to help people without personal computers access the information.
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