Data in the Community

How does the use of data benefit community groups? Philip Blond, of Respublica, declares here that the point that if the intermediary organisations combined their leading expertise with that of other community groups, they would be able to further explore how data could be used.

Would this approach also benefit future instances of opening data? It is imperative that this is considered, as it should initiate the production of a necessary intermediate infrastructure. Individuals are not on their own enough to make sense of such complex datasets.

So how could this be of benefit to local communities? Will Perrin describes his experience of community groups as a member of the public. “I have lived for 10 of the last 14 years in several flats around Kings Cross, North London. The council would like you to see the area as the beautiful heritage buildings ripened for regeneration. The reality painted a darker picture of high crime in the street that I lived.” As a citizen, the London Data Store provided Will with relevant data on the local area, which could then be used to fight a successful evidence-based campaign.

See his presentation at the event and others here.

It should be recognised that there is an opportunity gap through researching an area’s existing problems and campaigns, then deciphering the best course of action to brainstorm – If people just guess at the issues, it can only result in missed targets and an incorrect use of time or money used on conducting these projects.

A common mistake some councils make is to wrongly assume that if a concept is of interest to them it must always hold the same importance for the local public. What could be done to fully satisfy this public requirement? Sufficient research would soon make clear any actual local needs that need to be addressed and then implemented.

So if you’re involved in a community group or if you’re just looking for data to understand or tackle a particular issue where you live, get in touch! Even better, if you have used data to help your neighbourhood, we’d love to know too!

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