San Francisco became the first major city to enforce open data laws and is currently #3 in the country in quality of data. Citizens have transparent access to the intricate details of tax money spent on government contracts, the fuel consumption of cars on the market, or the number of permanent resident visa applications in each state/province, for instance.
In 2012, New York city started their version of open data law and had 2,000 sets published, as of 2018.
Throughout the Big Apple, open data has made its mark and been a significant factor in bringing more transparency to community projects, predicting the lifespan of New York street trees, and building on the inner-workings of the city’s sewer system.
Sugar Land, Texas, uses GIS tech as a primary component of economic development and the city’s capital improvement projects.Geographic information systems–computer systems that store, manipulate, and analyze geographical information–might be old technology, but many cities have put a new twist on these powerful mapping tools.
With roots stemming back to the 1970s, GISs are now extremely cost-efficient, easy to use, and mainstream. Thus, they’re an affordable means for cities to examine financial strategies that will enhance the following functions of a community:
•Social service activities
Avondale, Arizona, is encouraging its 78,822 citizens to engage via a mobile app and online forum where they can offer ideas that other residents vote up or down.Westminster, Colorado provides its nearly 111,000 citizens with a similar forum and gives rewards–such as free passes to the driving range or fitness programs–for regular engagement.
These online engagement strategies intend to change the public perception that local governments aren’t trustworthy. Leveraging technologies such as social media tools, online surveys, and e-commerce rewards programs in today’s climate–where physical, social interactions are limited–is integral to fostering fruitful citizen engagement.
The New York Police Department spearheaded CompStat in the 1980s–it combined data and staff feedback, which increased performance from officers and captains. The success of CompStat spurned a multitude of imitations, and now more than ever, stat programs continue to evolve and expand.
Thanks to the influence of CompStat, Louisville’s ‘LouieStat’ program helped save $23 million in unscheduled employee overtime while pinpointing performance inefficiencies.
On top of stats programs, data analytics also improve a city's overall performance.
Analytics programs in Denver, Jacksonville, and Phoenix examine data to discover insights that promote successful local governance. Los Angeles possesses an online system that tracks the city’s economy, service delivery, public safety, and government operations.
Statistical and analytical systems allow for real-time decision making. These programs are thereby helping local governments act with immediacy and urgency, rather than allowing small problems to grow into widespread catastrophes.
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