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.
Here on Data-Smart, Eric Bosco announced “Redlining Louisville: The History of Race, Class, and Real Estate” as the first winner of Harvard’s new Map of the Month contest, which recognizes best-in-class data visualizations created by all levels of government and nonprofits. The interactive map illustrates the continued effects of redlining—discriminatory service provision and lending practices perpetrated in the 1930s—on current development, disinvestment, and lending patterns. “Redlining Louisville” was selected for its outstanding use of data combined from multiple sources, its creativity and effective communication to the public, and the policy implications it is likely to have moving forward.
Also on Data-Smart, Stephen Goldsmith profiled Jackson, MS’s success in using analytics to identify ineffective city practices and repurpose funds to more effective programs. Thanks to help from What Works Cities and GovEx, Jackson conducted a comprehensive analysis of its spending, programs, and results that allowed the city to achieve significant cost-savings without laying off city employees.
Ideas42, Innovations for Poverty Action, and the Center for Health Incentives & Behavioral Economics at the University of Pennsylvania have partnered to create The Behavioral Evidence Hub, an online resource designed to help governments develop nudges. On the website, users can explore case studies of innovations that have succeeded in resolving behavioral problems in a number of domains, as well as test whether their interventions are behaviorally optimized. Read more at Fast Company.
GovTech discussed a partnership between San Francisco-based Zendrive and NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering intended to understand potential correlations between unsafe driving habits and collision sites. Using Zendrive’s software—which measures unsafe driving through smartphone sensors—in tandem with four years of NYPD open data on vehicle crash sites, researchers found a 71 percent correlation between crash sites and examples of risky driver behavior. These insights could allow traffic patrol to focus on unsafe areas and prevent collisions before they occur.
On the topic of traffic safety, Governing examined the results of the Vision Zero movement, an effort by cities around the world to entirely eliminate traffic deaths. A recent analysis by the Manhattan Institute concluded that Vision Zero in New York City has seen promising results, showing that pedestrian and cyclist deaths at intersections with treatments decreased by 34 percent from 2009 to 2016, compared to a 3 percent decrease for intersections that were not treated.
Prescription drug monitoring programs—government-run databases designed to track how doctors and pharmacists in a state prescribe and dispense controlled substances—have immense potential to mitigate the opioid crisis, according to an article by GovTech. These programs can help identify who is prescribing and being prescribed controlled substances in order to direct interventions to combat abuse. The article calls on state lawmakers who have dragged their feet in implementing effective monitoring to look at successes in states like New York and Florida as evidence of the critical need for these programs.
TechCrunch showcased Lynching in America, an online platform created by the Equal Justice Initiative with funding from Google.org that includes oral histories, documentaries, and data visualizations about lynching. According to Equal Justice Initiative Founder and Executive Director Bryan Stevenson, this site is intended “to create a platform for hearing and understanding and seeing this world that we’ve lived through.”
Working with the East Side Neighborhood Development Company (ESNDC) in St. Paul, MN, the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs at the University of Minnesota (CURA) analyzed the city’s capital improvement spending to understand how equitably it is distributed. The data showed that St. Paul’s allocations disadvantaged districts on the city’s east side, inspiring the city to integrate geographic equity into its considerations for capital spending. Read more at the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership.
Louisville CDO Michael Schnuerle wrote a post on Medium documenting the city's analog hackathon, a no-technology event that invited participants to draw insights from printed out versions of the city's data. The city printed out transparency “data layers” that could be combined and overlaid onto a blank base map, and participants worked in teams to develop solution ideas and ask further questions. By removing computers and projectors from the equation, the event was much more accessible and inclusive than traditional hackathons. Schnuerle says that he got the idea from the spring convening of the Civic Analytics Network (CAN), a network of CDOs around the country supported by the Ash Center.
StateScoop reported that, thanks to GIS technology, county officials in Miami-Dade County feel much more prepared for the quickly approaching mosquito season. Following last summer's Zika outbreak, the county worked with GIS provider Esri to develop 20 new apps, including maps that identify mosquito trap locations, mobile field applications that allow workers to input data immediately via iPad, and desktop components that receive and log this information in real time. These applications allow residents to report Zika outbreaks and standing water and provides municipal employees with tools to better target interventions.