The City of South Bend lacked in two-way data-driven communication between residents and decision-makers of the city. South Bend created the first open data portal in Indiana in 2013, but the distribution of information through this platform has not had a measurable impact to further conversations with residents beyond anecdotes.
What was the problem?
What is the solution?
The goal was to develop a platform which truly facilitates two-way communication between residents and the City of South Bend administration based on data. This platform and its outputs have been dubbed “S.BEND Report(s).”
S.BEND reports make Big Data small. Reports are delivered on the performance of city services at a scale relevant to our residents. The S.BEND reports are part of a comprehensive strategy to allow residents to become co-creators and advocates of their communities. Anecdotes and data converge to structure informed conversations that transcend the attribution of guilt and lead to richer discussions and more optimal outcomes.
Through the Director of Community Outreach each neighborhood’s priorities are coded and catalogued. Data is then gathered about city services like Vacant and Abandoned Home Initiative or Code Enforcement and reflect meaningful information, like the total amount of pounds of litter removed from illegal dumping in the neighborhood, while providing context regarding how your neighborhood fares relative to the rest of the city. The reports elicit action, including an increase in neighbor compliance with Code Violations, which reduces operational costs for the city – as city crews do not have to abate violations- while improving the quality of life in the neighborhoods.
Performance levels are currently tracked for different city services by neighborhood levels. Projects would be structured that use the S.BEND reports to communicate desired changes in behavior regarding a city service, changes would then be tracked in performance for this service and use statistical tests to validate the effectiveness of the program and the tool. The granular spatial control of the reports allow us to use different strategies across multiple neighborhoods allowing us to use the scientific method to design, test, and replicate effective strategies across the city. Resident satisfaction surveys, regarding different city services, would also be provided.
Where It's Working
Resources for Action
Mapping Open Data Across the U.S.
List of Open Data Sites by City, County, & State