By Data-Smart City Solutions • August 11, 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.

We announced the first-ever Harvard Summit on Data-Smart Government, presented by the Civic Analytics Network (CAN)—a peer group of leading Chief Data Officers from America’s largest cities. Join these leading CDOs in Cambridge, MA on November 7th and 8th, 2017 and learn about the ways data is reshaping how cities across the country work. Sessions will include presentations on successful data analytics use cases, best practices around data innovation in cities, and how cities can use transportation and mobility data to make socioeconomic impact.

The New York City Police Department has chosen to expand its use of ShotSpotter, the technology that detects gunfire and automatically alerts police. Because of the success of the technology in facilitating faster response times, the city will begin using ShotSpotter in Washington Heights and Fort Greene, bringing the total area covered by the technology to 60 square miles across all five boroughs. Read more at amNewYork.  

Here on Data-Smart, Chris Bousquet highlighted the work of Syracuse's i-Team, which has revamped the city's infrastructure via a suite of complementary non-profit partnerships and improved cross-departmental data sharing. Thanks to partnerships with Data Science for Social Good and What Works Cities partners the Sunlight Foundation and the Center for Government Excellence, Syracuse has been able to predict water main breaks and pavement failures, and then coordinate dig-once infrastructure projects that address both problems with minimal disruption.

Next City outlined the efforts of Flint, MI to engage residents in the process of auditing the city’s neighborhoods in order to inform Flint’s master planning process. Flint offered mini grants for residents to do data collection in their neighborhoods, rating properties on a scale of 1 through 4. Not only was the city able to collect useful data more quickly, but the collaboration cultivated trust between residents and the local government.

CityLab profiled the AIR Louisville program, an initiative spearheaded through a partnership between the city government, respiratory health start-up Propeller, and the Institute for Healthy Air, Water, and Soil. The city distributed GPS-enabled asthma medication sensors that track inhaler use and distribute data to healthcare professionals. Not only does the program allow patients to better track and manage their inhaler use, it also allows the city to map those areas with the most polluted air.

The Urban Institute released a research report on how community organizations can use data to assess fair housing and improve access to opportunity. The guide describes types of data and how organizations can think strategically about using data in order to improve program planning, enhance their ability to advocate for policy change, and gain a better understanding of neighborhood conditions.

Next City examined a new tool from the city of Boston called RentSmart that gives users a more accurate picture of rental properties in the city. RentSmart draws on data from the city’s Inspectional Services Division to capture information on rentals not likely to be advertised in a listing, including housing violations, enforcement violations and sanitation requests. “The city is the keeper of significant data that can help renters make good decisions about the properties they’re considering renting,” Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement. 

Next City also profiled Data for Black Lives, an organization that seeks to mobilize scientists around racial justice by cultivating relationships between data scientists, software engineers, mathematicians, and people working in black communities. Founder Yeshimabeit Milner hopes the organization will use data to identify issues that disproportionately affect black residents, ranging from displacement to economic opportunity.