Buffalo, NY - Mayor Byron W. Brown today announced the City of Buffalo will offer a free, four-week course to teach residents the basics of how to use data available on the Open Data Buffalo portal to become change agents in their neighborhoods and the community-at-large.
“When we launched the Open Data Buffalo initiative in February, our goal was to increase government transparency and create a more engaged community through online access of a broad range of City data,” Mayor Brown said. “Data 101 is the next step in that process, giving our residents the skills they need to gather and use that data in community projects that will make our City stronger.”
The inaugural Data 101 course will be open to City residents, with beginner to intermediate computer skills. Subject matter will be specifically tailored to the students based on information “crowdsourced” from detailed online applications and suggestions made on the Data 101 Facebook page.
“By crowdsourcing the curriculum, we’ll know exactly what the students want to learn, why they want to take the course and how they plan to use their new data skills. We’re hoping for a mix of community activists, block club leaders, and other engaged citizens who will make the most of this opportunity for themselves, and their communities,” said Dr. Luis E. Taveras, the City’s Chief Information Officer.
“Data 101 will empower our residents with the resources to reach a whole new level of civic engagement. The knowledge gained from Data 101, along with the transparency that Open Data Buffalo brings, will enhance the relationship between City and residents. We expect to see these effects at the individual level as well as with community-based organizations, especially Block Clubs,” said Oswaldo Mestre, City’s Director of Citizen Services.
The deadline for applications and crowdsource suggestions is November 1st. Students will be notified the week of November 9th. Classes will start, Tuesday, November 27th, and be held on consecutive Tuesday evenings, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., through December 18th, at Erie Community College City Campus. A project presentation and graduation ceremony will take place on Thursday December 20th.
“We’re excited to provide this opportunity to residents to learn more about Buffalo’s new open data portal. It is our goal that Data 101 will help grow a data-smart public by providing residents the skills necessary to strengthen neighborhood improvement grant applications and generate actionable insight about what’s happening in our city,” said Kirk McLean, the City’s Director of Open Data.
Through the first six months of the Open Data Buffalo portal being live, 16 major City datasets and 28 geospatial assets have been made available for free to the public. There have been over 130,000 unique page views. The most common search terms are 311, Parking, Neighborhood, and Permits.
Mayor Brown and his administration had been working toward the launch of the Open Data Buffalo portal since mid-2016, when it was selected by Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative – a national effort to assist cities in their use of data for more effective civic service and performance management.
Mayor Brown created an internal Open Data Team representing all City departments, including Buffalo Police and Fire, to create an Open Data policy, identify potential datasets and task data liaisons with building a virtual library of data the city collects and generates.
“As we continue to grow Buffalo into a City of opportunity for all, free access to experts in data usage, will improve our ongoing efforts to deliver better results to Buffalo residents, business owners and visitors. Creation of the portal also give our City departments the ability to tell their everyday stories through interactive tables, charts, graphs, and maps,” Mayor Brown said. “I encourage our residents to log on to Open Data Buffalo website and explore information about the City-at-large and their own neighborhoods.”
Applications for Data 101 can be found on the Open Data Buffalo website: data.buffalony.gov and on the Data 101: Shaping the Curriculum Facebook page.