The Charlotte Neighborhood Quality of Life research model is built around a comprehensive assessment of community level quality of life. Within this framework, the individual variables are organized into four dimensions: social, physical, crime and economic. In turn, these dimensions are aggregated into a cumulative quality of life index. Based upon this numeric value, NSAs are classified into three groups: Stable, Transitioning, and Challenged.
Arranging the NSAs into categories is a useful approach for creating a general template that can convey the idea of quality of life at a small, localized scale. Moreover, it permits a comparison of the quality of life between NSAs, as well as, within the entire city. However, this general three part categorization formula should only be used to assess a generic level of need in a community. Each NSA is unique. Accordingly, each NSAs score on an individual dimension and individual variables should be regarded as more useful to assessing the specific conditions and needs of that NSA.
In broad terms, the categories Stable, Transitioning, and Challenged reflect community conditions relative to other NSAs. As a measure for separating local inter-NSA quality of life, the terms translate into the following broad standards.
Stable: NSAs that exhibit few neighborhood level problems. These are neighborhoods that score high on the social, physical, crime, and economic dimensions. Compared to other NSAs, the Stable grouping has a significant higher quality of life than the city average conditions.
Transitioning: These are NSAs that are around average on most dimensions, but also display a weakness on one or more of the dimensions. This pattern may be signaling a shift in the overall NSA quality of life. Transitional status can indicate an improving or declining position, relative to other Charlotte NSAs. Compared to all Charlotte NSA, the transitioning group is clustered around conditions.
Challenged: Challenged NSAs generally have low to moderate scores on some or all quality of life dimensions. A Challenged neighborhood has a lower quality of life than other communities in Charlotte and is "at risk" on multiple dimensions. This grouping represents below average quality of life compared to citywide values.