New Tools Promote Civic Engagement

Ben Schiller spotlights the four winners of a competition organized by the National Conference on Citizenship and the Knight Foundation to improve civic health by making civic data "more valuable and accessible to decision makers and the public."

With a trove of data on "civic health" gathered over many years, but frustration in making such data easy to use and understand for decision makers and the public, the National Conference on Citizenship and the Knight Foundation launched the Civic Data Challenge. This past weekend, the four winners, out of 170 entrants, were announced. 

Among the winners: OpenBlock, which pairs "publicly available data on neighborhoods with geo-located and time-dated photos. So, for example," explains Schiller, "you can view a photo from the Rockridge area of Oakland taken in December 2009 or October 2010. OpenBlock is an open-access platform for hyper-local news, and is designed to promote economic development."

"How certain characteristics and indicators have ramifications on how we live is not greatly understood," says the Knight Foundation's Jeff Coates. "But it's really important for citizens to understand, so they can be better informed and really engaged in what matters to them."

Full Story: Visualizing Civic Data To Make The Case For Civic Health


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