I work for a progressive, well-intentioned city, and I have become convinced that analysis and visualization of data can improve my city’s outcomes. But I immediately ran into a problem in the effort. Sure, we’ve been working to learn data analysis skills. We have sophisticated tech tools to analyze and visualize data. Our leadership is supportive.
But we weren’t sure where to find the data. We had a sort of blank page problem, a where-to-start uncertainty. Continue reading
As you start working through the ‘What Works Cities’ program, you quickly come upon the requirement to build a ‘data dictionary’. Continue reading
Even when in possession of good and useful data, humans behave irrationally. City government is itself given to irrationality, particularly when politics is involved. Given that the purpose of this series (here and here, so far) is to explore how best to gather, analyze, and apply data to city government, what to do about this persistent irrationality? Continue reading
When Eric explained his goal to apply the data lens, my first thought was “Dammit, that’s so good why didn’t I think of that?”
At our next lunch however, it was time to get to business. Data is great, but data without purpose is like window shopping on Ebay: ain’t nothing good is gonna come of it. Charles from GIS, who had joined us for our occasional trip to our amazingly authentic and spicy local Thai buffet, discussed some very cool work he was doing looking into intersection safety around the city. While we briefly went down that path, Eric had recently read Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City and the multiple potential data-based questions about low-income rental evictions described were intriguing to both of us. Continue reading