By Data-Smart City Solutions • August 25, 2017

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.

CityLab profiled a new map created by researchers at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program that maps where automation is replacing jobs in the U.S. The map shows that automation is disproportionately affecting the South and Midwest, areas that are home to the auto industry. According to the research accompanying the map, at a minimum these technologies create near and medium term transition issues for workers.

Also on the topic of mapping, a number of cities along the “path of totality” for this week’s solar eclipse used geospatial technology in order to manage the public safety risk associated with an influx of visitors. For example, Casper, WY added a Solar Eclipse 2017 layer to its GeoSMART web page, the city’s interactive data map powered by Esri. The Solar Eclipse layer allows users to visualize wait times, as well as the location of traffic restrictions, parking, events, viewing sites, camping accommodations, parks and trails, first aid stations, clinics, and hospitals. Read more at Route Fifty.

And NextCity created a map indicating those Philadelphia neighborhoods that have prospered and grown in the last five years and those that have not. The map assigns a score to each of Philadelphia’s 55 neighborhoods based on crime, household income, population, poverty, and home prices.

Code for America published an article highlighting the need for governments to consider user-centered design when deploying digital government services. Currently, many governments merely put paper forms online without thinking about how the different medium will affect the experience. The result is poor uptake by residents—in San Francisco, for example, 62 percent of people who start an online food assistance application do not finish. Mapping and simplifying the user experience can connect many more residents with the services they need, and Code for America redesigned the California food stamp application process in order to do just that.

The Kennedy School Review also discussed the value of human-centered design in its latest issue, examining the potential for design thinking to improve service delivery at various levels of government. In its efforts to find creative options for affordable middle-income housing in Boston, the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics (MONUM) took a human-centered approach, starting by canvasing residents on the existing system, and, based on these comments, developing a prototype of smaller and more affordable “micro-units.” The team then gathered feedback on these units from residents, and iterated on the design.

Here on Data-Smart, Eric Bosco discussed the data-driven blight mitigation strategies employed by four cities: New Orleans, South Bend, Detroit, and Cincinnati. Initiatives range from sending behaviorally-informed letters to improve compliance, crowdsourcing information on vacant properties, and developing models to predict areas most likely to experience blight.

Also on Data-Smart, we published a set of resources that can aid governments in developing data-driven public health programs. These resources provide general recommendations for public health frameworks, information on where to find actionable public health data, and considerations for navigating the challenges around data-driven public health.

Boston released an “Imagine Boston 2030” Dashboard that condenses the city’s 472-page strategic plan into simple and public process metrics. The city’s goals cover nearly every facet of life, including housing, education, the economy, open spaces, transportation, art and more. The dashboard will use existing data collected by various city departments to show residents where the city stands in terms of these goals. Read more on GovTech.

GovTech also reported that a file containing the names, addresses, dates of birth and other information about Chicago's 1.8 million registered voters was published online for an unknown period of time. The file was accidentally uploaded to Amazon Web Services by Election Systems & Software, a contractor that helps maintain Chicago’s electronic poll books.