Two models for increasing community impact of open data

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Earlier this week, we hosted a webinar with our colleagues at Canadian nonprofit Open North designed to help city staff collaborate more with community residents on open data. If you missed it, the recording of the webinar is now available in the video embedded below:

During the event, we discussed two models for what engaged, collaborative data publication and use looks like: Open North’s cluster model and Sunlight’s Tactical Data Engagement approach.

Both of these models offer constructive approaches for cities to be more open and collaborative with the residents they serve.

“If you build it, they don’t come,” said Jean-Noé Landry, executive director of Open North. “Data publication doesn’t necessarily lead to engagement.”

That’s a perspective that Sunlight has been vocal in highlighting in our advocacy in recent years, as governments at every level evaluate the outcomes from publishing more open data online .

During the webinar, Stephen Larrick, our Open Cities director, noted the parallels between the two approaches.

“Publication of data does not equal impact, it does not equal use, it does not equal collaboration,” he said. “It starts with a locally relevant issue, similar to how the cluster model starts with a problem focus.”

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this event and contributed to the robust discussion of the ideas. To learn about future webinars on everything related to city open data and community engagement, please subscribe to the Open Cities mailing list and you’ll be the first to know.

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