In 2015, the New York City Center for Innovation through Data Intelligence (CIDI) commissioned a Capstone team from SIPA to create a Well-being Index for New York City. The Index was based on a wide range of indicators covering economic, education, health, and environmental factors and covered 188 neighborhoods in NYC. In 2019, another Capstone team did an update of this Index.
CIDI tasked the 2020 Capstone team to select 3-4 neighborhoods whose well-being improved or worsened between the 2015 and 2019 Index and to conduct an in-depth quantitative and qualitative analysis of those neighborhoods to uncover what policies and other factors might have caused the observed changes. The plan was to use these case studies as templates for the review of other neighborhoods in the future. The Capstone team focused on the neighborhoods of Crown Heights North, Cypress Hills - City Line, and West Farms - Bronx River. Both Crown Heights North and Cypress Hills were among the 10 NTAs with the highest positive change in their Well-being composite Index scores. West Farms was one of the only 25 NTAs that saw a decrease in their composite Index score between 2015-2019.
The original concept was to conduct an initial desk research into the possible factors behind the observed changes, which would then be validated through visits to the chosen neighborhoods and interviews with key policymakers and other stakeholders. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the team was unfortunately prevented from carrying out that second research component. For that reason, the team decided to flesh out the quantitative part of the analysis and write up a comprehensive data-based analysis of the three neighborhoods and the key changes in well-being observed. In addition, the team provided detailed recommendations on which issues would benefit most from further qualitative analysis and what stakeholders might be called upon to provide insights into these matters. It is hoped that CIDI will be able to use this report to restart the research at a future time, when neighborhood visits and personal interviews are possible again.