Supporting government transparency in Colorado
Boulder Adopts Progressive Open Data Policy
City manager to approve progressive open data policy
City Manager Jane Brautigam will sign the City of Boulder’s open data policy, designed to increase transparency and accountability by opening more city data to the community, during a brief ceremony at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 2. The policy calls for city departments to publish data sets on the city’s open data portal and provides guidance for protecting sensitive information.
The policy, as well as currently available data sets, can be accessed at https://bouldercolorado.gov/open-data. Boulder currently offers more than 46 data sets in six different file formats. These range in focus from planning, land use and bike paths, to trailheads and prairie dogs. The city will continue to add interesting data sets to the portal in support of this new policy.
“Recognizing the importance of facts in governing, the speed of change in effective delivery of services, and the need to better understand the outcomes of our programs, we are eager to engage our community in more data-driven dialogue,” Brautigam said. “This new policy will make more data available to the public, encourage businesses to build useful applications with city data, and increase collaboration between the city and our community.”
Boulder is one of 77 cities across the country participating in What Works Cities , a Bloomberg Philanthropies initiative that will partner with 100 U.S. cities to build their capacity for using data- and evidence-driven governance. Boulder’s open data policy was created through support from What Works Cities and one of its expert partners, the Sunlight Foundation , an organization focused on government transparency. The city is receiving support from another What Works Cities partner, the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University, as it works to implement the policy. The policy will streamline the release of new data sets. It adopts a Creative Commons license for all data released by the city to encourage the use of those data for both commercial and non-commercial purposes.
“Boulder has embraced the use of data to address 21st Century urban challenges,” said Simone Brody, Executive Director of What Works Cities. “By joining What Works Cities, Boulder is positioned to benefit from a peer network of U.S. cities working to improve outcomes for their residents, increase community engagement and learn best practices from each other.”
“From the kick-off of our work with the city, it has been clear that Boulder is home to an active and engaged group of residents,” said Alyssa Doom of the Sunlight Foundation, one of the What Works Cities expert partners. “This policy lays out a set of processes intended to streamline the release of city data to the community, underscoring the value that Boulder places on the participation of residents in using public information to spur economic growth, innovate, and continue making the city a great place to live.”
The policy is part of a broader citywide effort to enhance data-driven decision-making and innovation. The city recently hired a Chief Innovation and Analytics Officer to lead data programs and to build a coordinated approach to innovation, including the development of a public-facing community dashboard tracking progress toward community goals and areas of needed investment. An enhanced version of this tool will be released later this year.
“We’ve built a beta for innovation, beginning with tools for open data and increased data-driven decision-making. It’s my job to build on this foundation,” said Chief Innovation Officer Julia Richman. “The city conducted user sessions earlier this year to understand what our community wanted to see and how they would use the tools we are creating. Since that time, we’ve been building our strategy, in collaboration with What Works Cities, and will begin to roll out changes this summer and fall. We encourage our community members to check back on our work and let us know how we’re doing. We want this to be a new pathway for dialogue.”
More information about the city’s analytics and innovation efforts is available at bouldercolorado.gov/innovate .