The acceleration of the open government movement is
already making a big difference in the lives of people in communities
around America. A new book from the Urban Institute illuminates the
potential and practice of using data to enhance communities --
especially low-income ones. It's a practical resource for local funders
and others seeking creative ways to inform and engage communities.
Released Dec. 4, What Counts: Harnessing Data for America's Communities is
a collection of essays by experts in community development, population
health, education, finance, law and information systems. A joint project
of the Urban Institute and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco,
this book explains how data is being used more intensively and
creatively to enhance decisions at the local, metro, state, or federal
level. This can yield more effective local programs, policies and
services, as well as better-targeted funding. It can also help residents
understand how well their communities are performing, or measuring up.
At the book release event (see video),
Urban Institute president Sarah Rosen Wartell noted that "A vast volume
of data is now accessible -- but for people trying to make communities
better places to live, the potential opportunities and pitfalls for
using this data are large. This book is an opportunity to bring more
people into the fold to advance the use of data."