Thursday, December 11, 2014

What counts? New book shows how to improve, engage communities with local data

USC reporting:
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."

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