Open Gate City: Good for Business, Good for Residents

October 31, 2016 12:00 pm PST | Data as a Service

With October’s launch of Open Gate City, Greensboro, N.C., hopes to achieve three major goals: promote citizen engagement, improve government transparency, and provide businesses with the information they require to flourish. Greensboro is a What Works Cities participant, and at launch, Open Gate City has many datasets available — from public safety to finance to human resources — and the city has plans to add more data. We spoke with Jason Marshall, Senior Application Developer and Open Data Program Manager, about Greensboro’s goals for the program.

Socrata: What’s your vision for this program? 
Jason Marshall: The hope is that as the program scales over time, our residents, businesses, universities, and civic tech community will find value in the information, and mobilize it in innovative ways that improve their lives and programs.

Socrata: How will Open Gate City make your community more business-friendly?
Marshall: Businesses looking to move to our area will be able to pull data from the portal without having to make a public information request and waiting for the data to be collected. Local entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses will be able to use the data to make better informed data-driven decisions, and perhaps even find ways to build the open data into a new service.

Socrata: And what about residents? How will Open Gate City affect citizens in Greensboro? 
Marshall: We hope the program will encourage citizens to become more familiar with how their government is performing. We also hope to see the Greensboro’s civic tech and application developer community build applications and tools that will enhance city services, or create new services from existing data. 

Socrata: Will the program streamline or replace any existing processes?
Marshall: We hope that the program will assist with the public information request process. Popular datasets that are requested often are prime candidates for publishing to the open data portal.

Socrata: How do you hope your program influences your neighboring governments/communities?
Marshall: Perhaps Open Gate City will serve as a catalyst for our county and nearby cities to launch open data programs of their own. As this occurs data can be federated, or shared across jurisdictions to provide even more value to citizens.

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