Louisville is among the first eight cities selected to participate in a $42 million Bloomberg Philanthropies initiative that aims to help local governments improve the way they use and distribute data.
But the selection doesn’t necessarily mean a chunk of money is coming directly to Louisville, said Theresa Reno-Weber, the head of Metro’s Office of Performance Improvement.
Instead, the initiative will provide analysts and advisers to assess how data is assimilated and broadcast to residents.
Experts in data and city programming from Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Government Excellence, the Sunlight Foundation and the Behavioral Insights Team, among others, are partnering with Bloomberg for the program.
“It will be a combination of onsite visits and also phone calls, network connections to other cities that are doing things that are showing true impact and value for their citizens that we can adopt and implement here,” Reno-Weber said.
Chattanooga, Kansas City and Seattle are among the cities selected for the initiative, which could include as many as 100 more over time.
In Louisville, advisers will focus on ways to make more city data available and transparent to the public. They also will measure the effect of city-run programming on residents, Reno-Weber said. That includes looking at Metro departments such as Community Services, Health and Wellness, and Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods to determine whether their programs are working.
Reno-Weber said she hopes the initiative will help city leaders get a better grip on which programs are effective — and which are not — so city resources can be distributed more efficiently.
As for data, Metro officials plan to reach out to community groups, nonprofits, developers, academics and residents to get their takes on what should be available to improve transparency.
Earlier this year, Metro government launched a data portal that provides information on crime, public works and community services.
However, much of the information listed on the site is not yet available, such as how long it takes 911 dispatchers to answer emergency calls, the actual cost to complete city projects versus the projects’ budgets, and a database of all property owned and operated by Metro government.