By Data-Smart City Solutions • June 9, 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.

Stephen Goldsmith in Government Technology offered cities tips for a human-centered design approach to creating municipal tools for employees. Specifically, he suggests that governments: 1) break down the user experience into component steps, mapping where employees encounter obstacles and designing tools to make it smoother; 2) conduct user research to tailor the tools to employee needs; 3) engage city workers in the ideation process and crowdsource ideas. By modeling designs with the worker in mind, cities can not only improve the usability and effectiveness of these tools, but also engage employees in the everyday decision-making process, making local government more efficient, accountable and democratic.

Here on Data-Smart City Solutions, Chris Bousquet spotlighted US cities that are addressing gentrification and preventing displacement through mapping. By using mapping to observe gentrification trends, local governments are able to predict at-risk neighborhoods and intervene before low-income residents are impacted. The models in Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, Boston, San Francisco and New York all offer methodologies that could be replicated and applied across cities. Going forward, cities can couple data collected from such tools with insights from residents in targeted areas to develop intervention strategies tailored and responsive to individual neighborhoods.

The Sunlight Foundation shared the Open Data Charter’s new guide on using open data to combat corruption. The publication includes case studies and methodologies, priority datasets, and data standards that can be utilized to approach open data-driven anti-corruption work. The resource hopes that with greater transparency, government can become more accountable, less corrupt and produce better outcomes for citizens. Open Data Charter welcomes feedback on how the guide can be improved upon and made more useful.

In an op-ed for The Hill, Stephen Goldsmith argued that the federal government needs to tap into private financing to save the country’s decaying water infrastructure. By leveraging bipartisan support for inland waterway funding and removing legislative restrictions and others barriers to P3 projects, the administration could tackle the repair and modernization backlog that has accumulated due to systematic underinvestment in the waterways sector, and reinvigorate the industry’s economic activity.

StateTech summarized the key takeaways from a recent Deloitte University Press report on how artificial intelligence technologies can streamline public sector work. These include: 1) tackling employees’ paperwork overload; 2) coupling AI with the Internet of Things to enable real-time tracking and reporting; 3) filtering through data backlogs to determine appropriate follow-up actions; 4) bolstering cybersecurity. AI could significantly redesign government work to save on time, cut costs and overcome resource limitations.

Writing for Data-Smart City Solutions, Sari Ladin reviewed Los Angeles’ new, innovative benchmarking analysis, a part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s comprehensive community investment program, Great Streets, that measures the vitality of and city investment in neighborhood main streets. Novel for using open data, geospatial analysis and community surveys to measure economic activity, mobility, community engagement, resilience, public health and public safety, as well as presenting data in accessible reports, the project aims to provide data-driven insights that can help transform the city’s main streets into meaningful public spaces and improve community well-being.

GovTech highlighted city and county governments using data and technology to aid and reduce populations experiencing homelessness. New York, for example, launched the StreetSmart app that allows outreach providers across the city to log real-time data related to those they serve into a single citywide database, and San Francisco is preparing to introduce a platform with similar functionality. Seattle’s data-driven approach to addressing homelessness focuses on the information-gathering stage, asking social workers to collect data in key metric areas that could then be examined using a dashboard to see how well outreach programs are working and inform intervention strategies.