Non-profit organization Knight Foundation has allotted $1 million to fund seven programs that utilize data to engage in civic matters, said Cities Today. This is to make big data available not only to specialists but also by ordinary citizens.
The foundation announced the grant back in November as it called for ideas that can help in developing the usage and accessibility of info. It seeks to make residents more familiar with local data and boost their confidence in such information.
Moreover, the program is also designed to understand the community better and “capture community sentiment,” as per the Cities Today report.
The $1 million grant will be shared by the seven initiatives spread across five cities, said State Scoop. Three of the projects are located in Philadelphia, while others are in Charlotte, North Carolina; Long Beach and San Jose, California; and Wichita, Kansas.
The criteria for choosing that projects that will receive the grant are primarily their plans for data analysis programs that can aid in gathering public sentiment. Six out of seven programs are intended to “help cities learn what residents think of their urban planning strategies.”
The Long Beach program will be dealing with a “real-time alert system that measures air quality and automatically alerts asthma patients of increased pollution.” Meanwhile, the Philadelphia initiative, with the help of Drexel University, will launch a SimCity-like game that can aid residents to participate in construction permit notifications, as well as an urban planning initiative.
Cities Today described Charlotte’s project as a system that incorporates 3D data visualization to boost youth engagement in city planning. According to State Scoop, this project will feature virtual reality goggles and augmented reality mobile apps to achieve the city’s goals.
Meanwhile, the Wichita-based initiative seeks to help blind and visually impaired citizens access civic data through audio.
Knight Director for National Strategy and Technology Innovation Lilian Coral noted that “these projects meet residents where they are – on platforms they recognize and in the cities they know – to show that we can engage residents with data and create more responsive communities.”
Ultimately, the goal of the project is to boost the involvement of citizens in order to make their own communities better.
Coral said that the proper utilization of info can aid local governments create concrete steps to address community issues as reported by their citizenry.