Going beyond GDP: Creating indicators that measure what matters to Parkdale

Parkdale People's EconomyGeneral

The PCED project is a community-based planning initiative to develop a long-term neighbourhood plan for Parkdale. The project foregrounds participatory planning process and resident engagement for visioning and shaping the future of Parkdale that we want to create together. In addition, the project also attempts to rethink “the economy” and take a different and unique approach to local economic development that is based on the principles of shared ownership, democratic management, and ethics of care.

Currently we are organizing a series of workshops to discuss challenges, assets, and strategies for building a healthy neighbourhood, decent work, and community shared wealth in Parkdale. The first workshop is on developing neighbourhood wellbeing indicators.

When it comes to indicators and measurement, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is often used as a standard indicator of economic activities. But it has been pointed out that GDP is limited due to its failure to take into consideration complex social, cultural, and ecological factors that equally matter to our wellbeing and economy. In response, many practitioners, researchers and community groups have sought to go beyond GDP and develop alternative indicators to measure what really matters to us. Some of those examples are the Genuine Progress Indicator and the Canadian Index of Wellbeing.

This is one of the important points of departure for our PCED project, too. We also share the view that traditional economic indicators like GDP are inadequate to understand the extent and complexity of our local economic activities. Then, how can we know how well we are living? How do we define ‘progress’? What is important to our decent working lives? These are some of the questions that we are exploring in the workshop to develop Parkdale neighbourhood indicators.

We are organizing a series of sessions for Indicator Development Workshop to engage diverse community members and groups in Parkdale.


  • June 11th Thursday 6-9pm at PARC 1499 Queen Street West (registration) for co-op members and land trust members
  • June 15th Monday 6-9pm at Parkdale Community Legal Services1266 Queen Street West (registration) for Tenants/Renters
  • June 23rd Tuesday 6-9pm at Parkdale Intercultural Association 1365 Queen Street West (registration) for immigrant/newcomer groups
  • June 24th Wednesday 2-5pm at Greenest City at St Mark’s Church 201 Cowen Ave (registration) for community agency staff
  • June 27th Saturday 1-4pm at PARC 1499 Queen Street West (registration) Open for anyone in Parkdale


Please sign up!