We are excited that Urban Strategies Council recently was featured by the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership as an example of how data intermediaries and local governments can work together to tackle community challenges. A collaborative effort by the Urban Institute and local partners (including the Council) to further the development and use of neighborhood information systems in local policy making and community building, the National Neighborhood Indicators Project is advocating for local governments to engage with data intermediaries to better understand local issues and devise solutions. The case study about our work highlights how the Council has built public data capacity and partnerships for racial equity. It explores the following examples of our work:

  • The Council is the convenor of a range of public- and private-sector partners in the Oakland-Alameda County Alliance for Boys and Men of Color. The Alliance aims to improve outcomes for local boys and men of color in education, health, and employment. The brief highlights how the Council’s analysis of data documenting the extent of inequities facing boys and men of color helped substantiate the need for public investment in remedying those inequities.

  • Out of the Council’s long-standing partnership with the Oakland Unified School District grew the first effort to analyze chronic absence among students in the district. Chronic absence — missing 10 percent of school days or more — is a key indicator of students’ vulnerability to poor outcomes. Over the past decade, the Council, the school district, and other partners, have worked in multiple ways to reduce both overall rates of chronic absence and disparities by geography, race/ethnicity, gender, and disability. While chronic absence remains unacceptably high, substantial progress has been made.

The series also includes profiles of efforts in Columbus, where neighborhood data turned a set of complaints about some large apartment complexes into an opportunity to improve policies affecting Black infant mortality and the neighborhood’s children and youth, and Baltimore, where the local data intermediary is supporting residents and city leaders to tackle public safety, education, and environmental issues. We are proud to be members of the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership and to work alongside our peer organizations in more than 30 cities across the US.