Making More Data-Informed Decisions for Interoperable and Systems-Wide Urban and Regional Change

Oct 24, 2017

Session Description

Can we develop comprehensive data and performance systems that guides a more systems-wide, interoperable and partnership approach to decision-making instead of relying on a pilot or demonstration project? We currently use the “fail or pass” method to introduce policy, and the public either decides it’s a “go” or “no go”. Hear from leaders from multiple regions and sectors who are working on building data systems for more informed decision-making to solve community problems at a system-level with multiple agencies across dozens of municipalities and with the state. We might be better served by discovering what goes well, what could be done better and how to ask questions, collect data and inform decisions through more scientific reasoning. This session will explore how that is starting to emerge in practice and what tools exist that are making this an effective approach.

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Moderator: Susan ChapelleCity Councillor, Squamish, British Columbia

Scot RourkeCIO, Cuyahoga County, Ohio

Jennifer JamesDirector, Smart City Solutions, Black & Veatch


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  1. Everyone talks about the app that lets you report potholes to your city government for fixing, or to report health and safety issues. How far are we from seeing citizen reporting adopted widely? What needs to happen to create a situation where every citizen is empowered to make change in their neighborhoods through technology?

    • Hello Mathew,

      Thank you for your question. I know that Boston and IBM are using a citizen I formed public works application and many cities are using both budget and public service tools where engagement is a part of informing political decisions. Certainly this tool is expensive for the smaller towns, but I know IBM has moved forward and price for installing the application is the only city barrier.

  2. What type(s) of organizations are “best” to coordinate and manage data? Is this an opportunity for a new type of organization?

    • That’s a really interesting question. Currently in Canada we use private applications installed on our government website, and surveys to collect data. We unfortunately rely on census data and I do see this as a gap in our ability to really understand population data such as health concerns and citizen data. Instead of proposing questions, we wait for research or private companies to supply data. It seems like it is getting easier in the US to extract transportation data, but health data is still restricted and hard to make sense of for a typical politician. This is a gap that could be filled by a new type of company, or a company that is already data heavy but not translated well for decision makers.

  3. How do you keep the private citizens involved when theyre driven by the lack of support on a day-to-day basis of offering help without just talk about what is wrong.

    • I think people will always be speaking about what is wrong instead of what is good. There is much that is underfunded or under prioritized in budgets. Without citizen engagement, people make decisions in a vacuum. Poor land use decisions are made in election cycles instead of with long term health outcomes or equity in mind. Help always seems to be monetary, and addressing citizen concerns with limited funding is always a challenge. Time to be creative and more collaborative with on the ground services as well as available for interactions for more desirable outcomes. Thank you for your question!

  4. in Healthcare, this type of complex data is referenced as “population health”, with more federal/state incentives to integrate/open data across an ever growing national/global community.

    How can we advance the design, integration and coordination of a national/global “population health dashboard/system – and not having everyone/sector tackle individually?

  5. Design , integration and coordination of health care data across borders is being done by WHO, is there something in particular that you feel is not being understood that could be done better?

  6. This video shows the pro typing of a GIS software platform for integrated planning and investment. We are looking for US and Canadian demo regions as part of global demo. It will become free open source.


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