Community Assessment & Goal-Setting Tool

The Community Assessment and Goal-Setting Tool will be most useful for people who are already somewhat familiar with their community’s urban forest programs.

Measure your program against best practices

The Goal-Setting Tool isn’t an “audit” in the traditional sense; rather, it is a tool that you and your colleagues can use to better understand what constitutes a productive urban forestry program. Along the way, you’ll identify areas of opportunity and areas of need. All this can help shape your plans and ensure that the time and money invested will deliver the results to be fit your community. The Community Assessment & Goal-Setting Tool will not just help identify gaps and some of the assets that can help you reach your goals, it will also highlight areas where you’re already doing well.

Select the answers that correlate to both your community’s current status (as best as you know) and target goal(s).

You can do this individually or as a group exercise.

Select both your community's current status, and long-term goal.

A scorecard appears at the end of each category.

Weights are assigned to each indicator, from “-1” to “4.” The indicators scored “-1” represent conditions that will have a negative effect on an urban forestry program. The indicators scored “4” represent best practices identified by VCL’s expert team of scientists and practitioners. At the end of the process, you can save your assessment in your user library for future reference. You can begin another assessment at any time.

Gap score = Total Current score minus Total Goal

How you can use Goal-Setting Tools
  • Learn more about what it takes to create and sustain a vital, growing urban forest.
  • Create a checklist of areas where we’re doing a good job, and where we need to do better.
  • Prepare my community to qualify for certification or recognition programs (STAR Community Index, TCUSA Growth Award, etc.).
Benefits of expanding your urban tree canopy
  • More appealing places to live and work.
  • Reducing urban heat island effect.
  • Managing stormwater and/or improving water quality.
  • Improving public health.
  • Rejuvenating business districts, thereby increasing sales and taxes.
  • Enhancing educational environments (and performance).
  • Saving energy.
  • Mitigating climate change.
  • Fostering more cohesive social environments.