Cities Are Putting Data to Work

January 26, 2017 12:00 pm PST | Data News Roundup

U.S. News & World Report teases the “great untold story” of “how cities large and small are governing by the facts, using data and evidence.” Find out what Boston learned when their open data team asked residents how to make their program more accessible. And, a new report from the Federal CIO Council recommends that the Trump administration create a team to coordinate data reporting. Read more of this week’s open data news:

Why Big Data Is a Big Deal for Cities

“University of Kansas Prof. Alfred Ho recently surveyed 65 mid-size and large cities to learn what is going on, on the front line, with the use of big data in making decisions. He found that big data has made it possible to “change the time span of a decision-making cycle by allowing real-time analysis of data to instantly inform decision-making.” This decision-making occurs in areas as diverse as program management, strategic planning, budgeting, performance reporting and citizen engagement.” Read more from Governing.

Opinion: Believe in Cities

“The great untold story is how cities large and small are governing by the facts, using data and evidence not to cloud but to clarify what serves all Americans – and to engage their communities in efforts to move forward….In Mesa, Arizona, officials recently created a “blight index” from data on crime and code violations; they’ve identified the neighborhoods with the most need and they use evidence-based decision making to redirect funding. In cities like New Orleans and Chattanooga, they are using behavioral science to sharpen outreach campaigns that aim to increase diversity in their police forces. Tulsa is one of a growing number of cities making data public and, in so doing, making government more transparent.” Read more from U.S. News & World Report.

‘State of Federal IT’ report offers advice for Trump team

“If the Donald Trump administration issued a multi-year strategic vision for federal IT, it would help agencies stay focused on the administration’s highest priorities, a new Federal CIO Council report says….To ‘reduce inefficiencies and inaccuracies in its data collection processes’ the State of Federal IT also recommends creating a Data Analysis and Research Team that would coordinate data reporting. ‘This group … would manage and standardize reporting processes, provide clear and consistent guidance to ensure data quality and consistency and set strategic direction on improving data management,’ the report says. Read more from FedScoop.

The Challenges of ‘Data Science for Social Good’ in a New Era of ‘Alternative Facts’

“What can data analysts, technologists and public officials who rely on facts, statistics and shared knowledge to inform decisionmaking and improve operations do to combat anti-establishment sentiments and misinformation that sow the seeds of distrust and skepticism in their important work?” Read more from RouteFifty.

Memo to the President: Performance Accountability, Evidence and Improvement

“Trump should direct every major department, agency and bureau head to set clear goals indicating what they want to accomplish by when, including a few stretch targets in priority areas….In fact, the federal government has been moving in this direction for some time, both in practice and in law. You can see much of this progress on, which depicts performance information for the largest federal departments and agencies.” Read more from Government Executive.

OpenGov Voices: Making open data more accessible — three lessons from Boston

“How do you share open data in a meaningful way to help citizens convert data into knowledge about their city? Over the past few months, the City of Boston’s Open Data team has worked to explore this essential question by placing our computers aside. In our quest to bring the Open Data to Open Knowledge project (funded by the Knight Foundation) to life, the team set out to host conversations to learn from everyday Bostonians.” Read more from the Sunlight Foundation.

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