Emily Badger is a former staff writer at CityLab. Her work has previously appeared in Pacific Standard, GOOD, The Christian Science Monitor, and The New York Times. She lives in the Washington, D.C. area.
What could you change in your community if you just knew more about it?
The inventive urban data geeks over at OpenPlans are celebrating the first anniversary this week of New York City's open data law with a simple but wonderful little exercise in public imagination. Sarah Goodyear writes today about the importance of that landmark law passed in 2012, which established what many open-government advocates consider the standard in municipal transparency.
The goal, though, was never just to access data for data's sake. Rather, unlocked data makes other things possible. For example:
With a "lil' software experiment," OpenPlans is inviting people to fill in that Mad Lab to expand the public conversation on how newly accessible data can tangibly change neighborhoods, decisions and how cities and citizens interact anywhere. A few of our favorite responses already curated by the site on Twitter:
#IfWeKnew where gangs are active then we could target after-school programs in the right neighborhoods— If We Knew (@IfWeKnew_) March 8, 2013
#IfWeKnew the true cost of transportation when choosing where to live then we could avoid living in expensive suburbs— If We Knew (@IfWeKnew_) March 8, 2013
#IfWeKnew when the streetsweeper was coming then we could move our cars in our neighborhood before we get a ticket (that is expensive)— If We Knew (@IfWeKnew_) February 22, 2013
And, OK, playful input is welcome, too.
#IfWeKnew where our crazy ex boyfriends were then we could not be in those places— If We Knew (@IfWeKnew_) February 23, 2013