There are many different ways city leaders can utilize or even define the purpose of data. One could think about performance data as it relates to activities, like the number of potholes filled or arrests made, or how it relates to service outcomes which, like initiatives on obesity or infant mortality, require data sharing across agencies. Then there’s open data, which is seen in some localities as an obligatory transparency measure and in others as real way to encourage co-production of governance.
Most municipalities have done some work in at least one of these areas. But to unleash the full potential of data, a city needs a coordinated strategy that overcomes procurement obstacles while encompassing each pillar of its data-directed work. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter set out to change the data and performance culture of his city during his two terms, which ended in January.