12 new What Works Cities join program on path to open data


Today, the What Works Cities initiative (WWC) and its partners announced that 12 new cities would be joining the program. WWC helps local governments use data to make more informed decisions and improve services for their residents.

At Sunlight, we’re thrilled to announce that we’ll be working to help 10 of the 12 newest What Works Cities create and implement brand new open data policies.

The cities joining WWC are: Baltimore, Md.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Cape Coral, Fla.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Greensboro, N.C.; Gresham, Ore.; Kansas City, Kan.; Naperville, Ill.; Providence, R.I.; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Topeka, Kan.; and Wichita, Kan.

What Works Cities — which celebrated its one-year anniversary in April — is a nationwide program leveraging the expertise of five organizations to bring technical support to mid-sized cities that are committed to improving the lives of residents through data and evidence. Today’s announcement brings the initiative’s total to 39 cities across 25 states.

With Sunlight’s help, many of this next round of cities, such as Fort Lauderdale and Topeka, will be implementing open data initiatives for the first time. Others, such as Greensboro, will be looking to refine existing open data efforts. In Wichita, we’re excited to be working with a city that has even put its open data policy draft online — a practice we’re excited to see happening more and more across the country — through a partnership with our friends at the OpenGov Foundation. Every city is at a different point along this path to making more data accessible and available to the public, and each will take a slightly different approach to open data. But through WWC, they’ll all have access to a network of organizations and other city leaders who are also using data to tackle problems in their communities.

In addition to working with cities, Sunlight has released some of its open data policy resources in our newly available “Public Policy for Public Data Checklist.” This step-by-step playbook can help cities through the process of understanding, strategizing, crafting and enacting meaningful open data policy. Additionally, WWC has produced this handy resource guide covering such topics as: best practices in designing open data policies and portals; advancing performance management programs; utilizing behavioral insights to run randomized control trials; and strategically managing city contracts. WWC partners will continue to develop resources and best practice guides, which are freely available to all city leaders around the country.

Be sure to check our blog often and visit our local policy hub for more coverage of this exciting project!