The Sunlight Foundation is excited to announce that six more cities are joining the What Works Cities initiative: Boston; Charlotte; Little Rock, Ark.; Milwaukee; Raleigh, N.C.; and Victorville, Calif. Of these Sunlight is providing technical expertise to Charlotte, Little Rock, Milwaukee, Raleigh and Victorville as they either develop open data policies and programs or enhance pre-existing ones.
We are excited to work with these new cities in each of their specific contexts. For example, in Little Rock, not only are we supporting with recommendations for the city’s first open data policy, but we will also be assisting with its implementation by facilitating a data governance committee and assisting with an inventory of data held by the city. In other cities where open data is more established, like Charlotte, we’ll be working with city officials to update and improve existing policy.
Since launching our work with the What Works Cities program Sunlight has so far engaged with 20 cities, seven of which have adopted open data policies. With these recent additions, What Works Cities is now partnering with 27 cities in 18 states, representing millions of Americans and billions of public dollars. This growing number of cities reflects further progress toward the goal of engaging 100 cities within three years. We here at Sunlight are proud to facilitate change in local government by supporting cities throughout the country in their efforts to be more inclusive, open and responsive.
The work of Sunlight and WWC to provide this assistance has seen sustained demand, as echoed in a new report by The Bridgespan Group. The report found city leaders nationwide ”want to use data, evidence and evaluation to address challenges such as safety, economic development, and affordable housing, however many lack the resources, tools and expertise to turn their data into solutions.” As the report notes, “72% have invested in a tool or platform to release data to the public, but only 18% have an established process for regularly releasing data publicly.”
In order to establish these processes, open data policy is a key ingredient — not only for enabling evidence-based decisions, but more accountable decisions as well. “Data is becoming more integral to how government operates, and Sunlight is happy to ensure such data is open and available to the public,” said John Wonderlich, interim executive director of Sunlight.
Make sure to check out our blog for continued updates from our work with What Works Cities.