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2014 Neighborhood Quality of Life Study Update
- View Full 2014 Update Report as a Flipping Book (Mobile friendly!)
- View the 2006 Neighborhood Quality of Life Study
The City of Chesapeake provides opportunities for people to live in many different environments that range from the traditional neighborhoods of South Norfolk to the open countryside of Southern Chesapeake. Neighborhoods also vary in the assets and challenges that may support or hinder community quality of life. The Chesapeake Neighborhood Quality of Life Study was first developed in 2006 as a tool to aid community residents, elected officials and local government staff in prioritizing investments to improve quality of life across four dimensions: social, crime, physical, and economic. This 2014 Neighborhood Quality of Life Study Update (2014 NQL Study) builds on the work of the 2006 NQL Study by adding refinements to the methodology and presenting the results of the most recent quality of life data analysis.
The project was guided by an inter-departmental Quality of Life Cabinet.1 The 2014 NQL Study included the following four phases:
- Refined NQL Method, Units and Indicators: Interviewed City of Chesapeake staff regarding their priorities for the 2014 update; facilitated a Civic League meeting to assess community-based priorities for the 2014 update; surveyed the national state of the practice in neighborhood quality of life indices; reviewed the methods of the 2006 NQL Study; and developed a set of methodology recommendations and options for the 2014 NQL Study.
- Revised Neighborhood Statistical Area Maps: Produced a citywide map reflecting the updated NSA boundaries and a set of locator maps for each NSA.
- Analyzed and Mapped Quality of Life Data: Collected quality of life data from federal, state and local sources for 26 variables; standardized and analyzed the data by variable and by quality of life dimension; and produced a set of maps showing the results for each of the four dimensions and the cumulative quality of life ranking.
- Drafted Final Report: Revised the 2006 NQL Study report to reflect updated methodologies and results of the 2014 analysis.
NQL Method Review Recommendations
Based on research during the Method Review, the Quality of Life Cabinet approved two primary changes to the NQL methodology established in 2006.
- Revised Geographic Units: While the 2006 NQL Study analysis was conducted using local neighborhood boundaries as the geographic units, the 2014 NQL Study analysis was conducted using U.S. Census block groups. The geographic units in both studies are referred to as Neighborhood Statistical Areas (NSAs).
- Revised Statistical Approach: While the 2006 NQL Study used a statistical factor analysis to group NSAs into three categories (developing, sustaining and revitalizing), the 2014 NQL Study used a standardized index to identify high priority NSAs for each variable and dimension.
In addition, following a public meeting that engaged Civic League leaders, City staff and elected officials, the Quality of Life Cabinet approved adding two new variables to the analysis:
- Affordable Housing Access for Families Seeking Housing Assistance: For families seeking assistance with housing, the ratio of 1/3 of an average family's income to the average rental cost by NSA.
- Percent of Persons Using a Means Other than an Automobile to Get to Work: The percentage of daily commuters who walk, use public transit or bike to work.
Information about these recommendations is documented in the section of the report titled Defining Quality of Life: From 2006 to 2014. More detailed descriptions of the new methodology can be found in the Geographic Units and Methods sections of the report.
Dimensional Quality of Life Results
The 2014 NQL Study presents analysis of 26 quality of life variables that are grouped into four dimensions: social, crime, physical, and economic. Statistical analysis was used to identify High Priority NSAs for each dimension. NSAs that meet the high priority criteria may benefit from investments to improve quality of life as it relates to the variables in that dimension. The results of this classification are provided in Figures 6, 8, 10 and 12 with maps illustrating High Priority NSAs for each dimension. A summary of the quality of life patterns seen in 2006 and 2014 is provided in the table below.
|Dimension||2006 Quality of Life Patterns||2014 Quality of Life Patterns|
|Social||Revitalizing neighborhoods were identified north of S. Military Highway.||High Priority NSAs are clustered in two areas, north of S. Military Highway and just east of the Dismal Swamp.|
|Crime||Most revitalizing neighborhoods were identified north of S. Military Highway. Two revitalizing neighborhoods existed outside of this cluster – one to the southeast of S. Military Highway and one in the very northern tip of the city.||The primary clusters of High Priority NSAs are located north of S. Military Highway and south of S. Military Highway along I-64.|
|Physical||Revitalizing neighborhoods were distributed across the northern half of the city.||In 2014, the majority of High Priority NSAs are similarly distributed through the northern half of the city, with just two located in the southern half of the city. There are several clusters in the middle of the area north of S. Military Highway.|
|Economic||Just two NSAs were identified as revitalizing. These neighborhoods were located just north of S. Military Highway on either side of I-464.||There is a cluster of High Priority NSAs located north of S. Military Highway. Other High Priority NSAs are dispersed throughout the northern half of the city, with just three located south of S. Military Highway.|
Cumulative Quality of Life Results
The dimensional priority scores (for social, crime, physical and economic) were aggregated for each NSA to calculate a cumulative quality of life ranking of each NSA relative to the rest of the city. Each NSA was assigned a cumulative quality of life score of 0 to 4, reflecting its total number of high priority dimensions.
Table 3 in the Cumulative Quality of Life Results section of the report lists all NSAs which met the High Priority criteria for one or more dimensions. Figure 3 (also shown on the following page) shows that NSAs that received three or four Dimensional High Priority scores are located in an area north of South Military Highway. NSAs which received one or two Dimensional High Priority scores tend to be dispersed across the city.
Figure 5 (also shown on the following page) in the Cumulative Quality of Life Results section of the report provides a comparison of the 2006 and 2014 citywide quality of life results. Although the NSA boundaries changed between 2006 and 2014, Figure 5 shows some consistency by identifying NSAs north of South Military Highway along I-464 as most in need of quality of life investments.
Neighborhood quality of life provides an important foundation for the long-term sustainability of the City of Chesapeake. Looking ahead, the 2014 NQL Study offers a resource for residents, community leaders, city staff, and elected decision-makers to guide effective investments in Chesapeake's neighborhoods. Refinements to the 2006 NQL methodology and NSA boundaries have positioned the City of Chesapeake in the future to take advantage of the vast amount of data related to quality of life available through the American Community Survey. By regularly updating the NQL study, the City of Chesapeake can continue to track the community's progress over time and further expand the set of variables explored.
2006 and 2014 Citywide Quality of Life Results
2006 Quality of Life Groupings
2014 Cumulative Quality of Life Results
1 The Quality of Life Cabinet includes representatives from the following City departments: Development and Permits, Health, Human Services, Planning, Police, and Public Works. The Cabinet also includes representatives from the Chesapeake Redevelopment and Housing Authority and Chesapeake Public Schools.