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 Erica Walker, a PhD student at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and her work charting urban noise. Using more than 400 decibel readings and 900 surveys from residents, she plans to create a map of Boston with perceived noise values, comparing the residents’ perceptions to her measurements. Her research could help shine light on an important link between noise and public health, and could perhaps inspire cities to take action on noise reduction policies.
A group of Bay Area CIOs met at Sunnyvale’s Plug and Play Tech Center to share their thoughts on smart cities and how new technologies can transform cities. GovTech wrote up six of the CIOs’ key suggestions: justify the return on investment, integrate old systems into the new ones, build an Internet of Things network, approach problems regionally and collaboratively, focus on flexible tech, and use tech on actionable projects.
Senators Kelly Ayotte, Cory Booker, Deb Fischer, and Brian Schatz introduced the Developing Innovation and Growing the Internet of Things Act into Congress this week. The bill would create a working group to advise Congress and the federal government on how to best prepare for and encourage the adoption and growth of the Internet of Things. Establishing a working group would hopefully lead to a cohesive national strategy, allowing for easy implementation and effective usage of IoT technology in both public and private sectors.
Here on Data-Smart, Sean Thorton explored how open data can encourage transit-oriented development. Using open data, Chicago's Metropolitan Planning Council developed an interactive data visualization tool that has played a major role in helping shape local transit-oriented development rules and regulations. The success of the tool shows the power that effectively-used public data can have on policymaking and civic discourse.
Governing wrote about LA County’s attempts to use predictive analytics to lower juvenile crime and detention rates. The county used actuarial tools to screen children, identify those at highest risk for jail time, and then connect them to caseworkers and preventative social services. The original results are promising: none of the children who were identified and provided services received jail time, compared to 9% of the control group.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced a $100,000 grant through its new Replicable Smart City Technologies program. The grant will be given to three local governments who will participate in the 2016 Global City Teams Challenge, which will bring together cities and private organizations to highlight new smart city projects and innovations. More details on the grant can be found here, and applications are due on May 12.
GovLab featured Peru’s new way to find illegal garbage dumps: tracking vultures. The Ministry of the Environment launched a campaign called “Gallinazo Avisa” (translating to “Vultures Warn”) and attached GoPros to a flock of vultures, enabling real-time GPS data to be collected and analyzed to find areas likely to contain large garbage piles. The campaign has also resulted in an unexpected increase in civic engagement, drawing citizens’ attention to the problem of illegal garbage and increasing interest in wildlife and innovative government projects.
Seattle announced new standards for its open data across all city departments. The city’s data will now be “open by preference,” meaning the default will be to publish all data after screening it for privacy and security concerns. Seattle hopes the increase in open data will encourage innovation, improve relationships with currently underserved populations, and allow city agencies to make more informed decisions. The city, which partnered on the initiative with the Sunlight Foundation through Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities program, aims to have 20 departments trained and over 500 datasets published to the open data portal by next year.