Open data promotes citizen engagement at the local level

Afua Bruce at the Hill: “The city of Los Angeles recently released three free apps for its citizens: one to report broken street lighting, one to make 311 requests and one to get early alerts about earthquakes. Though it may seem like the city is just following a trend to modernize, the apps are part of a much larger effort to spread awareness of the more than 1,100 datasets that the city has publicized for citizens to view, analyze and share. In other words, the city has officially embraced the open data movement.

In the past few years, communities across the country have realized the power of data once only available to government. Often, the conversation about data focuses on criminal justice, because the demand for this data is being met by high-profile projects like Kamala Harris’ Open Justice Initiative, which makes California criminal justice data available to the citizenry and  the Open Data Policing Project, which provides a publicly searchable database of stop, search and use-of-force data. But the possibilities for data go far beyond justice and show the possibility for use in a variety of spaces, such as efforts to preserve local wildlifetrack potholes and  understand community health trends….(More)”.