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The Sunlight Foundation wants to help cities do more with their public data

Just publishing it online is not enough.

Open data isn't enough by itself. (Photo by Flickr user ThatMakesThree, used under a Creative Commons license)

On Wednesday, in the middle of Sunshine Week 2017, the Sunlight Foundation published a new how-to guide for cities and their data.

The resource, called the “Tactical Data Engagement” guide, aims to help more cities do more with data — more than just publishing it online, that is. The guide includes practical steps and case studies showcasing how other cities have effectively leveraged data.

The message? Open data isn’t enough by itself. Cities must be proactive about utilizing that data in order to make real changes to public life.

“As Sunlight celebrates the progress that has been made publishing public information online in recent decades, we’re also mindful of all of the work yet to be done during during Sunshine Week,” Alex Howard, Deputy Director at Sunlight Foundation, said in a statement. “Opening data isn’t enough on its own to deliver the transparency, accountability and tangible improvements to city life that mayors and residents want and need to see from the investment of time and resources.”

Tactical Data Engagement encourages cities to work with external partners such as universities or civic hackers (hey Code for DC!) to make the biggest strides. The guide includes case study examples like descriptions of how Portland, Ore. collaborated with Google and used data to improve public transit or how Cleveland, Ohio used code violation data to track bad housing conditions.

The guide was developed as part of Sunlight’s work with the What Works Cities initiative.

Companies: Sunlight Foundation

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