Each week we will bring you a summary of what happened this week on our site, on Twitter, and in the wider world of civic data. Suggest stories on Twitter with #ThisWeekInData.
Results for America announced the second cohort of their Local Government Fellowship. The 15 selected local government officials will work to address pressing policy concerns in their communities with data-driven approaches. The fellows will implement a 2-3 year policy roadmap to improve a chosen problem, and will partner with a research or academic institution to gauge a government-funded program to better guide policy decisions. Results for America will publish 15 case studies on the progress of the fellows throughout the process as well.
The Sunlight Foundation examined how smaller cities can successfully release and leverage open data. They profiled larger cities (Austin and Las Vegas) previously, but this week’s article digs into how cities with fewer resources and smaller budgets can still develop thriving open data programs. Hartford, CT and Asheville, NC are profiled in detail, and the article explains how detailed open data policies, automated data processing, and data licensing have helped the cities to strengthen their open data.
Here on Data-Smart, Stephen Goldsmith and Jane Wiseman published an expanded version of their article on data analytics in pretrial detention. Cities and counties are wasting more than $3 billion a year, and often inducing crime and job loss, by holding the wrong people while they await trial. In this era of big data, analytics not only can predict and prevent crime but also can discern who should be diverted from jail to treatment for underlying mental health or substance abuse issues. Jurisdictions that do use data to make pretrial decisions have achieved not only lower costs but also greater fairness and lower crime rates.
Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Katie Appel Duda summarized the “50 Conversations” event from the Summit on Government Performance and Innovation, which brought 20 innovation leaders from around the world together for quick, speed-dating style conversations about government innovation. Duda notes three main takeaways: innovation must follow a deep understanding of the problems, innovators must be willing to take risks and learn from failure, and innovators must look outside of their city to find broader insight.
Route Fifty profiled Washington, D.C.’s new interactive zoning map. The city revised its zoning regulations early this year for the first time in over fifty years, and used open data and GIS to build a user-friendly mapping tool to better explain the new regulations to the public. The map allows anyone to easily find zoning regulations, property information, and development standards for buildings across the city, as well as integrating photos of properties when available. Making this citywide data available to the public in an accessible format will hopefully make it easier for residents to understand regulations
The Dallas Morning News wrote about the Dallas Innovation Alliance, a new public-private partnership between the city of Dallas and two dozen companies and foundations. The alliance is launching a series of smart-city projects in Dallas’s West End, including smart streetlights with air quality sensors and a mobility app that can display more accurate transit options.
GovTech featured a post by Christopher Thomas, director of government markets for Esri, exploring how maps can help cities better leverage data from IoT initiatives. IoT projects can produce massive amounts of data for cities, but this data will only be useful if it can be properly analyzed and visualized. Thomas explains how maps can help better tell a “real-time story” with the collected data, making it more accessible and useful for city workers and residents.
The White House announced the Data-Driven Justice Initiative, a new bipartisan coalition of city, county, and state governments who will work to use data-driven strategies to break the mass incarceration cycle. The initiative will focus on linking high-risk individuals with health and social services community organizations, provide law enforcement officials with needed tools and data to de-escalate emergency situations in ways other than arrests, and use data-driven strategies to better inform pretrial release decisions.