For a concrete example of measurement in practice, let’s take a look at the Night Market events held in the Little Mekong District of St. Paul, MN, adjacent to the Green Line’s Western Avenue Station.
Asian business owners in the area sought to develop their competitive edge in capitalizing upon their new light rail station. Inspired by similar night markets in Southeast Asia, the series of events showcase the food, art, history and culture of the Little Mekong District. The Asian Economic Development Association designed the market to attract visitors to Little Mekong and provide small businesses and individual entrepreneurs who many not have a shop space to market their products.
During the markets, the streets at the Green Line Western Station Area come alive with people as local vendors peddle their wares while artists, dancers, musicians and large-scale puppets provide entertainment. This physical transformation can be experienced, documented with pictures and videos and explained with testimonials.
The market has provided a focal home for the Southeast Asian community, and an opportunity for residents of all ethnicities to interact in a novel setting. It has attracted a diverse audience from across the Twin Cities, and given many artists the chance to showcase their work. You could measure this social impact by noting that the market has attracted more 4,000 visitors over the eight weeks that it ran, or that it has provided a showcase for more than two-dozen artists.
The events also have brought positive attention to a neighborhood that was hungry for it, while providing space and customers to disparate vendors. These economic outcomes can be documented in terms of numbers of small businesses created or sustained; sales volumes (vendors earned an average of over $1,000 a night); the value of the market in terms of a similar level of exposure through advertising, etc.
These combined measures all feed into narrative descriptions, media coverage, funder reports and bragging rights. To see pictures, read more about the market and view related press, read the Funders Collaborative profile.