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November 23 2015 - Kansas City, Mo., committed early to the idea of open data, launching its portal in 2013. When I began managing open data operations earlier this year, it was clear that the city was committed to making data available to the public to increase transparency and encourage citizen and business participation in government. As such, when Bloomberg Philanthropies announced its What Works Cities initiative to help cities make evidence-based, data-driven decisions last spring, Kansas City jumped at the chance to participate. In August, we were selected for What Works Cities, working alongside experts in the field to establish ourselves as leaders in the use of open data to achieve citywide goals and engage with the public.

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November 18, 2015

Huffington Post: Scientists Are Using Psychology to "Nudge" Us in the Right Direction

November 18 2015 - The Behavioral Insights Team believes that human psychology is the key to better policy. Here's how they use language and other strategies to help us be our best selves.

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November 10, 2015

Government Technology: 4 Simple Steps to Get Government Leaders on the 'Data Diet'

November 10 2015 - I recently saw a T-shirt that said, “Data is the new bacon.” And it certainly seems that way — everyone is hungry to find, acquire and consume data, and the market is answering the call. In the past few months, we have seen the White House launch a new Smart Cities Initiative and host a forum on citizen science and crowdsourcing. General Electric started rebranding itself as a digital company helping cities become more intelligent. My own organization, Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Government Excellence, through our partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities program, is helping 100 mid-size cities accelerate their use of data and evidence to improve people’s lives.

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November 6, 2015

Here & Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson:

November 6 2015 - Jackson, Mississippi, is one of eight cities taking part in the “What Works Cities” initiative. The $42 million program, launched this year by Bloomberg Philanthropies, aims to help 100 mid-sized U.S. cities enhance their use of data and be more transparent to their residents. Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber tells Here & Now’s Peter O’Dowd the data will help inform residents about the city’s progress on issues such as blight, crime and water costs, and help hold the government accountable.

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October 27 2015 - Not surprisingly, city and county governments, often the leaders in finding innovative ways to improve government performance, are becoming increasingly interested in evidence-based policymaking. Earlier this year, Bloomberg Philanthropies launched its What Works Cities initiative, offering incentives to 100 city leaders to create innovative models for using data and evidence that will improve the lives of their residents.

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In the October 2015 issue of the What Works Cities newsletter, read highlights from some of our cities and partners, and check out noteworthy resources, including two new Gitbooks by our partner GovEx.

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October 22 2015 - The City of Jackson urges citizens to complete a new survey that will help the city move forward with its open data initiative. Last month, Mayor Tony T. Yarber signed an executive order that will pave the way for a city government that’s more open, transparent and data driven. This concept was centered on the city’s engagement with Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative. As a part of that initiative, Jackson is committed to releasing key data sets within the city to its citizens, businesses, and organizations. The goal is to make constituents more informed about what’s occurring within the city. A survey seeking public feedback has been made available on the city website at or by clicking this link: Copies also will be available at public libraries and community centers.

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October 22 2015 - In cities across America, mayors are eager to make use of ever-growing streams of data to enhance the effectiveness of city services and improve residents’ lives. If you can track why some blighted buildings take so much longer than others to be demolished and rehabbed; if you know that some residents routinely call an ambulance for very minor medical issues; if you can show why some businesses leave a city while others put down stakes – you can use this information to take actions that produce better outcomes for residents, and save money better used elsewhere.

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October 21 2015 - Let’s face it, most urban leaders claim, or have claimed, that their city is making the most of technology. Talk of new technology and digital progress is inherently positive and forward-looking. It encourages an image that is cutting-edge and advanced, one that plays well with voters and business alike. But talk is one thing, actually implementing digital change is quite another. The citizens of Kansas City (KC), Missouri should have no such worries, however. Theirs is a city that has, for some years now, enjoyed a leading position in the race for all things digital. In 2012, for example, KC and neighbouring Kansas City, Kansas together became the first metropolitan area to receive Google’s ultra-high-speed ‘fibre to the home’ network. The project prompted the two cities to join forces and seek out new ways for their communities to reap the potential digital dividends. The result was a playbook and subsequently a new digital leadership network, KC Digital Drive, to propel their continuing evolution into a smart city.

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October 21, 2015

Public Sector Digest: Using Data and Evidence to Drive Results In American Cities

October 21 2015 - There is a sea change underway in cities across the United States. In municipalities large and small, mayors have become innovators and city leaders have become visionaries as they embrace policies and programs based on data and evidence. Throwing aside the status quo of “what has always been done,” these city leaders are reaching for new tools with the capacity to deliver better results for their resi-dents. Whether it’s using data to make city roads safer, to reduce infant mortality, or to clean up city blight, U.S. mayors are energized by the possibilities of data and evidence-driven decision-making.

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