Creating a Municipal Positive Peace Index: Ranking the Top 20 U.S. Cities
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The Institute for Economics and Peace defines Positive Peace as the attitudes, institutions, and structures which create and sustain peaceful societies (Peace, Positive Peace Report, 2015, p. 4). This differs from negative peace, which is "the absence of violence or the fear of violence" (Peace, Positive Peace Report, 2015, p. 7). With the civil unrest that happens in recent years, such as in Ferguson, MO, cities should be looking for ways to enhance and sustain peaceful communities which will likely decrease the impetus to react through civil unrest.
Purpose: The purpose of this research is to create a municipal Positive Peace Index in order to describe positive peace in United States cities. After it is constructed, the Municipal Peace Index will be applied to U.S. cities – thereby creating a positive peace ranking.
Method: This research is important because it will describe how peaceful a city is using community relations, government transparency, and high levels of human capital, free flow of information, gender and racial inequality, a sound economic environment, and a well-functioning government as criteria. Government officials, businesses, and political actors in the cities can use this data to evaluate what new policies can be implemented to increase the cities peacefulness, which can then be determined if it will generate new business and if it would be a destination for existing businesses.
Findings: This research found that San Francisco, Austin, and San Dieago score the highest on the municipal positive peace index. These three cities serve as examples of cities that have implemented institutions and structures to create and sustain peaceful societies.
The Institute of Economics and Peace came out with a U.S. Positive Peace Index in 2015, which described 162 countries based off of eight positive peace indicators. Using these same indicators, it would behoove the federal and state governments to have a peace index that ranks the top U.S. cities.