Resource Centre

Making Cities Open by Default: Lessons from open data pioneers

City governments play a vital role in building communities where people can live, work, and play, as well as fostering resilient and sustainable development. Cities are responsible for providing basic services that most directly impact the lives of the public. There is a growing movement to give people access to the data and information that they need to hold city leaders to account for the decisions they make and the services they deliver.

For this report, the Charter and OpenNorth investigated the opportunities and challenges faced by cities improving their open data programme, and specifically the role that the Charter can play in supporting this process.

We spoke to government officials, politicians and civil society from four cities (Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal and Winnipeg) and one province (Ontario) in Canada, as well as three international cities (Lviv – Ukraine, Buenos Aires – Argentina and Durham – US).

Resilient reform in government: Lessons from open data leaders

Making sure policies survive times of political transition or fatigue is a challenge, perhaps never more so than in today’s political climate. If you are a team leading a high stakes agenda in government, how do you prepare for a major political upheaval, when everything you have worked for can be erased in a pen-stroke?

This report from the Open Data Charter and the Open Data Institute is a collection of reflections by officials on how they worked to embed reforms before the recent US, French, Philippine and Kenyan national elections. We looked at these experiences to gather insights into making policy stick for open data, or other similar policy reform areas.

Adoption & Implementation Roadmap

This roadmap has been designed to support government officials who are helping their
organisations to adopt and implement the principles of the Open Data Charter. It’s also
relevant to non-governmental organisations and businesses interested in supporting the
implementation of open data policies.

There are a number of existing tools that assess open data initiatives. But organisations
often need guidance, in the form of a recommended action plan, that will help them
begin the process of implementing the Charter principles.

This document provides a suggested roadmap. It is intended to act as a reference for
governments officials to turn the Charter principles into a set of concrete actions that can
help plan and improve open data practice. It should be read alongside the Activities
Table setting out specific actions that governments should consider following.

Case Study: Open Government Data in Rio de Janeiro City

This case study of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) will examine the challenges for local public sector organization in terms of agenda setting, formulation of public policy, implementation and evaluation channels/models. It is designed around six sections related to:

  1. Emergence;
  2. Policy Design;
  3. Supply and Information Resources;
  4. Users;
  5. Impacts; and,
  6. Final Considerations.

In the creation of this case study, we undertook structured visits to the open data portals of the city, carried out interviews with staff, managers and users of open data and conducted surveys of hackathon participants of Rio de Janeiro. It is important to highlight that Rio de Janeiro has more than one open data portal, each with different objectives and datasets. This report looks at a variety of open data efforts in the city. One of the authors has also been working inside the municipality over part of the period of this research, and so findings are complemented with participant observations where relevant. This data collection was carried out between June and October 2013.

Harnessing Open Data to Achieve Development Results in Asia and Africa (Open Data in Asia and Africa, ODAA)

Working with a diverse set of partners on a broad range of sector-specific challenges and applying appropriate support and mentoring strategies allowed for targeted exploration of demand-driven and ecosystem approach to open data in developing countries. Taken together, the findings from the various projects each contribute to our understanding of how open data ecosystems operate and thrive. Design and scaling open data solutions and interventions that are mindful of these insights will allow open data to impact positively on the lives of ordinary citizens in developing countries.