Data / Analytics

Data & analytics are the cornerstone of understanding how a city works and how it can function better. This collection of solutions and blocks provides a quick summary of resources on this topic.

Artistic visualization and display of data

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New capabilities created by the integration of enhanced computational power, big data and visual representation systems provide the opportunity to bring many previously complex and abstract concepts into stunning visual relief for the first time. The city will convene some of the world’s great artists and media professionals to work with scientists, librarians and city officials to develop and refine some of these data visualization systems to create a compelling community education and communication approach. Boulder will work with partners to put the vast amount of collected scientific and citizen science data in the hands of artists and hackers, giving them the tools they need to interpret and represent the data in a clear, resonant message. An emphasis will be placed on creating a variety of pathways, tools and systems to enhance accessibility to a wide an array of prospective users. Through these creative partnerships, the city will unleash untapped knowledge to inform decisions and mobilize collective action.

Bristol is Open

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Bristol Is Open (BIO: is a Joint Venture between the Bristol City Council and the University of Bristol. BIO is deploying a city scale open and programmable test-bed for experimentation and digital innovation in smart cities. Embedded new technologies cut across all aspects of the city development including ultra high-speed connectivity, Internet of Things (IoT), cyber-security, data analytics, transport and utilities. BIO works with local partners, SMEs and large corporations to develop and demonstrate technology solutions and services for smart cities. Bristol Is Open advocates that smart technologies are a critical enabler for resilience in cities.

Citizen data engagement


We will leverage data to find solutions to city issues, using existing and near-term initiatives such as REPLICATE. We will build the capacity of organisations and citizens to use data to shape projects and achieve ‘smart’ city outcomes. REPLICATE (REnaissance of Places with Innovative Citizenship And Technologies) is a €25 million Smart city ‘Lighthouse’ project. In Bristol, it is employing digital technology to explore the impact of integrating smart energy and smart transport interventions in the neighbourhood of Easton. Bristol is a city within the URBACT Resilient Europe network which aims to share experiences on resilience and sustainability across the network. Bringing these two projects together will enable Bristol to develop a real neighbourhood focus to data engagement.

City knowledge exchange platform

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We will explore a range of options for developing an open knowledge platform for connecting people, organisations, ideas and knowledge across the city. It would enable ideas to be connected across themes such as climate preparedness and could connect project ideas with possible funders.

City metrics and Sustainable Development Goals

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We will develop a new set of high level city metrics for all stakeholders to aim towards a fairer, happier and more sustainable city. This will help us move away from relying solely on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) - a high level economic growth indicator - as the headline measure of our success. The work already done by Bristol-based Happy City Initiative, along with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), provide useful frameworks and tools for developing a new, inclusive set of Bristol metrics. These need to be developed and agreed with a wide range of city partners so that they can then be used as the basis for designing and evaluating future city policies and programmes across different organisations and policy areas. They can also be used to raise public awareness and as a mechanism to anchor the city’s international engagement.

Creative data application through challenges and hackathons

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As part of an ongoing effort to democratize the city’s data through community dashboarding and a more accessible open-data portal, Boulder will create data and technology challenges to encourage the use of city and community data. These challenges are dynamic competitions intended to focus the creative and entrepreneurial talent of the city to help identify and solve collective problems. Similarly, the city will partner with the local coding and tech community to host hackathons—events that focus intense programming attention toward a collaborative solution to a single, discrete issue. Taken together, this approach taps into two powerful behavioral motivators—competition and collaboration—to find solutions to particularly complex resilience issues.

Decision-making with data-driven principles


We will do this by measuring performance to improve the City’s resilience decision-making, and identifying Key Performance Indicators for digital services, such as the Rent Adjustment Program.

Identify additional targeted air quality improvements through data analysis and community engagement

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Since December 2008, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) has monitored criteria for air pollutants at street-level sites around the city through the New York City Community Air Survey. This survey has provided essential data to design sound policy and inform research. Pursuant to available funding, DOHMH will seek to build on this success by developing a community air quality “citizen-science” toolkit that will include how-to guides for accessing available data on emission sources, designing neighborhood air pollution surveys using new, low-cost technologies, and sharing data online. DOHMH also plans to expand its Environment and Health Data Portal to incorporate neighborhood-level sustainability indicators, create a neighborhood- level “Sustainability and Health” report, and develop an educational module on sustainability and health for outreach in public schools and CBOs. These efforts can provide valuable data on air pollution hot-spots and local emissions sources that may be used to inform future control measures beyond those proposed in this plan.

Open data platform

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Bristol City Council’s open data goal is to unlock value for the Council, citizens and businesses by sharing Bristol’s data to address city challenges, promote innovation and make the city more open and accountable. The council already shared over 130 data sets on its open data platform but in order to extend reach and impact the council is currently developing its open data ecosystem to make it easy a possible for employees, external organisations and citizens to interact with data. The Council also understands that publishing and encouraging access, use and re- use of data is only a part of the process, and is therefore committed to an ongoing community engagement programme. Current engagement activity includes, but is not limited to, an open data challenge series and support in the delivery of ‘The Bristol Approach to Citizen Sensing’ with Knowle West Media Centre.

Urban Integrated Diagnostics

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The Urban Integrated Diagnostics project promotes research and innovation initiatives that help to improve the city’s health, well-being and prosperity as they face up to challenges of modern urban living. The Bristol ‘pilot’ project will bring citizens together with researchers, local authorities and partners from business and the voluntary and community sector aimed at investigating the very real challenges facing the city across four areas: mobility and accessibility, health and happiness, equality and inclusion, and tackling dependency on fossil fuels. Bristol will learn from other pilot cities of York, Leeds, Newcastle & Gateshead, and Birmingham.

“Citizen science” program to foster knowledge co-creation

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Citizen science can take many forms, but as technologies have advanced over the last decade, each member of the community can now serve as independent, mobile data-collecting participants. To harness this potential, the city will develop the information architecture necessary to support community-driven mobile science applications and translate that data into information and metrics to inform city decision-making. The aggregation of information from so many data points can create new insights into changes in the community, collective behavior or climate, as examples. By relying on community members to play a role in the creation of data and shared knowledge, Boulder will foster co-ownership in understanding the factors of change affecting us all. The underlying architecture will be openly available to the public to creatively develop applications to support data collection from sources as diverse as the Boulder Valley School District to Boulder’s active and enthusiastic outdoor community.