The City of South Bend created the first open data portal in Indiana in 2013, but the distribution of information through this platform has not had a measurable impact to further conversations with residents on how to improve city services beyond anecdotes.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg helped launch S.BEND reports, which helps breakdown big data on the performance of city services into more manageable and relevant information for residents. Through the Director of Community Outreach the City codes and catalogs each neighborhood’s priorities, then gathers data about city services like Vacant and Abandoned Home Initiative or Code Enforcement and reflects meaningful information, like the total amount of pounds of litter removed from illegal dumping in the neighborhood, while providing context regarding how the neighborhood fares relative to the rest of the city. By making this open data portal more accessible to city residents, S.BEND reports helps elicit action, including an increase in neighbor compliance with Code Violations, which reduces operational costs for the city – as city crews do not have to abate violations- while improving the quality of life in the neighborhoods.
How to steal this idea:
Learn more about South Bend’s open data portal at https://data.southbendin.gov/.
For additional resources, visit http://www.ci.south-bend.in.us/government/content/open-data.
Numerous cities outside Indiana have adopted open data portals and policies.
Charlotte in North Carolina developed an interactive tool that generates reports at a neighborhood; however, the data does not refer to specific city services.
The City of Chicago, in a partnership lead by Argonne National Lab and Brett Goldstein, are developing Plenario, a tool that analyses open data in arbitrarily defined geographies, but residents with low tech skills might still be unable to use this data. Learn more about Plenario at http://www.govtech.com/data/University-of-Chicagos-Plenario-Changes-How-We-Use-Open-Data.html.
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