City Open Data Policies: Learning by Doing

The capture and analysis of data is transforming the 21st Century. As society becomes more data driven, data has the ability to drive the bottom line for private companies and help the public sector to define where and how services can best be delivered. In City Open Data Policies: Learning by Doing, the National League of Cities identifies how cities can take advantage of the opportunities presented by open data initiatives.

SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. Leadership: Political support stands out as one of the key requirements to implementing a successful open data project.
  2. Appropriate Legislation: Enacting legislation or formal policies is a crucial step toward ensuring the growth and sustainability of open data portals. 
  3. Funding: Open data initiatives do not require high levels of funding. It is, however, important that the programs have their own budget line items where resources are specifically allocated. 
  4. Technical Approach: Leading U.S. cities rely on commercial platforms that facilitate the implementation of open data initiatives, provide technical expertise, and ensure 24/7 customer support, often at a lower cost than providing these services in-house. 
  5. Stakeholder Involvement: Open data is a two-way process. It is, therefore, essential to encourage participation and engagement among multiple stakeholders including: community members; non-profits; universities; the press; businesses; city departments; and other levels of government. Many cities adopt a flexible, and usually informal, approach to interact with the stakeholders. 
  6. Measuring Success: Developing evaluation tools should be an integral part of any future open data policies.

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