Communities of Transparency: Open Data in Action
Many cities and public agencies are opening up their data to promote accountability, empower citizens, and deliver better services. But just releasing data is not enough to achieve these desired outcomes. Most open government initiatives are supply-side efforts that release data that is too obscure, too complex, or too out of date to be valuable to citizens. This session explores three open data cases where we have seen success (public transit), failure (federal spending), and promise (open311). We show how co-production between policymakers, techies, and civic innovators is crucial to translating data into useful information for a targeted audience of local, yet diverse, users. In these communities of transparency, leadership, collaboration, local knowledge, feedback loops, and iterative design work together to forge the pathways for more meaningful transparency and participation in our communities.
Francisca is Research Director of the Transparency Policy Project at the Harvard Kennedy School. Current work investigates transparency initiatives in three areas: open data for transit systems, reporting of federal stimulus spending, and the strategic use of ICTs by international NGOs. Previously, Francisca was as a researcher at MIT’s Senseable City Lab and participated in projects that analyzed digital data to reveal large-scale urban dynamics. She has a PhD in urban and regional planning from MIT.
Frank works on software tools for meaningful participation in planning. He leads the Civic Works team at Open Plans, working towards better communities at the intersection of planning, technology and public engagement.