Opening up government data has the potential to engage residents, increase accountability and spur new uses of data. As one of the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership’s founding members, Urban Strategies Council has used data as a tool to improve low-income communities for almost three decades.  This week we’re releasing a case study on the City of Oakland’s open data journey, published by the Urban Institute as part of their focus on the impact that open data has had on communities.  Read our case study here and see the stories from other major cities here.

The Council successfully advocated for open data in the City of Oakland and Alameda County resulting in the development of open data portals and the release of public data sets for the first time. We continue to advocate for ordinances to guarantee the continuing release of public data. We have conducted detailed analysis of public datasets to support public understanding of police deployment and investor purchases of foreclosed properties in Oakland, resulting in significant policy changes. Our work includes the ongoing development of an online data warehouse with visualization tools (www.infoalamedacounty.org), where the public can access and analyze relevant data to increase their engagement in civic affairs.

We continue our efforts to democratize data and to provide research and analysis that allow our partners to understand complex issues with attention to conditions that affect urban environments.