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Guiding cities on data analytics

The white paper is published by the Ash Centre for Democratic Governance which wants to support the growth of analytics capacities across US cities

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The report recommends that cities produce an open data policy roadmap
The report recommends that cities produce an open data policy roadmap

A new report has made a number of recommendations to cities who are grappling with data analytics which includes linking civic engagement to city analytics.

 

Analytics in City Government: How the Civic Analytics Network Cities are using data to support public safety, housing, public health, and transportation by the Ash Centre for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School, captures lessons learned from a variety of municipal-level data analytics projects to help cities better understand how data- and tech-enabled innovations are aiding urban governance.

 

It draws on various approaches and methodologies developed by members of the Civic Analytics Network, a community of municipal civic data leaders convened by the Ash Centre to support the growth and replication of analytics capacities in cities across the US.

 

The white paper highlights steps that cities can adopt to develop their own data analytics initiatives as well as catalogues the experiences of various US cities using data analytics.

 

“In the push to develop analytics programmes of their own, some cities lack the institutional memory and experience that can help initiate, scope, and implement a successful analytics project,” said Stephen Goldsmith, the Daniel Paul professor of the Practice of Government and the director of the Innovations in American Government Programme at the Ash Centre.

 

He added: “We’re hopeful that this report can serve as a resource for cities grappling with the questions of how tools like AI and machine learning can be harnessed to improve the delivery of government services.”

 

“Analytics can offer new insights and improvements to city governance across core issue areas,” the report states. It offers six key policy recommendations:

  1. Produce an open data policy roadmap;
  2. Create programmes and job descriptions that promote broad data literacy;
  3. Incentivise and enable cross-departmental collaboration to connect personnel and data resources from across city government;
  4. Adopt enterprise-wide procedures that facilitate data-driven insights;
  5. Link civic engagement with city analytics; and
  6. Produce guardrails to protect equity and fairness issues.

“City Halls that follow these policy recommendations developed from experiences working with Civic Analytics Network cities and partner organisations have a much better chance of successfully leveraging the transformative power of analytics,” added Goldsmith.

 

The Civic Analytics Network is based at the Ash Centre and is supported by a grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. It is a peer group of chief data officers that collaborate to advance the use of data analytics and visualisations to improve government service delivery and address critical social and urban problems.

 

If you like this, you might be interested in reading the following:

 

Making sense of the data deluge in cities that never sleep

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Make data the ‘public good’ before it’s too late

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US city opens itself up for examination

St Petersburg in Florida has launched an interactive platform to measure its performance and demonstrate transparency and accountability

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