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Beyond Transparency & building tools for City Council & Community Boards

Did you know that NY City Council Members, their staff, and local community boards have to hack though the same datasets as us?

Did you know they find themselves as frustrated as we do?

Let us fix this.

For the first part of 2014 and as a community, we are going to dive into these frustrations, build better interfaces, and grow better solutions. 

In this first night, we will review four subject areas: 311, Public Safety, Safe Streets & Transportation, and Land use datasets. Then we will map out known problems, frustrations, and outline opportunities to get our hacks into the hands of City Council members.

Schedule
7:00 - Event starts promptly with introductions
8:00 - Teams breakout to map the terrain 
 -- Four subject areas: 311, Public Safety, Safe Streets & Transportation, and Land use datasets
9:00 - Reportbacks and planning.


About “BetaNYC’s Beyond Transparency” Series

Beyond Transparency is a term coined by Brett Goldstein & Lauren Dyson where they seek to move beyond the rhetoric of transparency for transparency’s sake and towards action and problem solving.

Over the course of 2013, BetaNYC did just that. Over the course of the year they organized groundbreaking events that showcased the City’s open data and civic hacker network. Though these events, New Yorkers built a stronger relationship to their data, problems, decision makers, and opened the door to deeper community insights. In 2014, BetaNYC wants to grow these conversations and engender a conversation with diverse stakeholders as how to make data actionable.

For the first quarter of 2014, BetaNYC will focus its hacknights on building community insight tools. We will meet weekly to explore four subject areas: 311, Public Safety, Safe Streets & Transportation, and Land use datasets.

The targeted audience is NY’s City Council and their staff members, Community Board members and interested citizens.

On Feb 22 and 23, BetaNYC will run Code Across NYC, a two day event to build tools and showcase them to City Council Members and Community Board Members.

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  • Tom L.

    Great.

    This might be of interest to participants, from CUP

    What are community boards for?

    We’re excited to announce the premiere of our Urban Investigation on community boards: Now Boarding. This short film explores how decision-making happens in NYC on the local level and the role community boards play.

    The project was a collaboration of CUP teaching artist Dillon de Give, students from International Community High School in the Bronx, and CUP staff. At the premiere on January 22nd, the students will discuss their process creating Now Boarding and they will interview longtime community activist (and community board member) Damaris Reyes on the role of community boards in land-use decision-making.

    What are community boards for?
    Wednesday, January 22nd, 7:00 pm
    Anthology Film Archives
    32 2nd Avenue (at Second Street)
    New York, NY
    F to 2nd Avenue

    Free and open to the public.
    Please RSVP by 9:00 pm on Tuesday, January 21st, to [masked].

    January 10, 2014

    • Tom L.

      Not that I'm aware of. If I attend (which I expect to do), I'll ask/suggest that it be made available.

      January 10, 2014

    • Ariel

      Most CUP projects usually go online after their debut. I used to be a fellow there and would gladly inquire after the 22nd.

      January 10, 2014

  • Noel Hidalgo | B.

    If you are looking for a recap on wed's event, we've written up a blog post on it. < http://blog.betanyc.org/post/72878428995/betanycs-beyondtransparency-kickoff-event-summary >

    1 · January 10, 2014

  • Joel N.

    Check out what Tom Levine put together in one afternoon -
    machine-readable data liberated from the NYC Crime Map :)

    http://thomaslevine.com/!/nyc-crime-map

    1 · January 9, 2014

  • fkh

    Here are raw notes from the 311 discussion (thanks, Joel!) -- https://docs.google.com/a/ontodia.com/document/d/1GPhemRneZps43hHHzkQoZ1Hon3CbZ1g9f1N4uMLQ0GQ/pub

    "If I had ... I would ..." summaries to follow.

    January 9, 2014

  • Nathan S.

    Summary from the Education breakout group:
    Project idea:
    If we had a commute time filter we could build better school choice tools for students.

    If you are interested in this idea, or other ideas related to finding safe routes to schools in NYC join us on Jan 22:
    http://www.meetup.com/betanyc/events/156149782/

    We also had an interesting conversation about strategies for involving students in civic efforts in their communities, but did not come up with any concrete project ideas.

    January 9, 2014

  • Joel N.

    For the machine-readable version of NYPD Crime Data by Precinct PDFs mentioned last night (http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/crime_prevention/crime_statistics.shtml), you can get it from https://classic.scraperwiki.com/scrapers/nycrime/. That's what we use at NYCpedia.com. Its has crime data going back to 2010. Never mind the date sorting, but its up to date.

    There are also some other interesting Community Board-related PDFs that are updated regularly that are ripe for scraping:
    * Scorecard/Street Cleanliness Ratings
    http://www.nyc.gov/html/ops/html/data/street_scorecard.shtml
    * DOT Street Construction Schedule - http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/infrastructure/construction.shtml

    And should you know of other PDFs with data that can be liberated to help build the City Council/Community Board dashboard, you can sign up for the Liberate PDF Hackathon (http://www.meetup.com/Big-Open-Data/events/156411602/).

    And we're open to hosting the PDF scrapers and the liberated data.

    January 9, 2014

  • Rory L.

    Additional note: since outreach is half the battle, a PR campaign comprised of subway & bus ads, billboards, and maybe some free ads in local papers can reinforce how powerful the choice of a high school is for students, and the role public transportation plays in making those choices possible. Also very cool thing someone pointed out tonight: Students only have to be 16 to vote on how funds are allocated in their communities through NY's Participatory Budgeting. I could be wrong, but I bet a lot of teens (and adults) don't know this. From the website:
    YOU Decide How to Spend Taxpayer Dollars
    New York City is experiencing a new kind of democracy. Through Participatory Budgeting, from September 2013 to April 2014, community members will be exchanging ideas, working together to turn ideas into project proposals, and voting to decide what proposals get funded.

    Great meetup, Noel!

    January 9, 2014

  • Rory L.

    Kudos to the education splinter group who are addressing the need for NYC middle school kids to be informed and empowered as they face the very real and unique challenge of selecting a high school. By creating a public transportation build-out to the school search interface, they're enabling parents and students to widen their search range. As one team member pointed out, and the study below confirms, lower-income kids can really use as much information as possible, since school choices tend, by default, to be based on proximity. This very often means selections of lower-performing schools by students in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. By streamlining the process of determining public transportation options, selecting a school outside of a presumed range may seem more doable.

    Check out the study on high school selection here:
    http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/scmsAdmin/media/users/ggg5/HSChoiceReport-April2013.pdf

    1 · January 9, 2014

  • Jeremy

    LAND USE SAYS-----------------
    If I had:
    Detail the retail use/etc in a neighborhood
    I would:
    Work with city officials to help bring needed amenities to a community

    If I had:
    Access to DHCRs DB of rent regulated tenant
    I would:
    find bad actors on property and prevent them from getting permits

    If I had:
    a list of all building violations
    I would:
    not waste time looking at apartments in a moldy building

    If I had:
    a list of dob and hpd complaints across all buildings
    I would:
    avoid landlords who are difficult

    If I:
    knew how many trees were in a neighborhood
    I would:
    i know which neighborhoods i would like to live in

    1 · January 8, 2014

  • Chris W.

    We could do good street planning if we had access to an editable map.
    We could save lives, if we had a better understanding of causes of crashes and better allocate personnell (police) to "Areas of need" and accident prone zones.
    We could assess the benefits of traffic calming measures if we had better government data, and if we had better crowdsourced/community-generated data
    4) We could predict outcomes of transit changes if we had a tool for simulating scenarios
    5) We could simulate more accurately/make more accurate policy if we had more time data for incidents
    6) We could share good ideas/at government level if we had a tool for communicating conditions/situations/ideas in a more credible data-centric format (quantifiable)

    January 8, 2014

  • Joshua K.

    We can have more comprehensive decisions on infrastructure improvements if we had complete information on traffic violations and crash data... etc.

    I could provide a better interface for crash data entry if we were able to work with the NYPD to facilitate a unified entry point.

    If we had data broken down for every major street redesign, we can better understand the impact of those redesigns.

    If the NYPD publicized their recommendations on and underlying data to DOT for street redesigns, elected officials, community boards and the public could participate in the decision making process.

    Project:
    Map interface with crash data overlaid and formatted for better public consumption. Present suggestions to elected officials for where street improvements are needed. Provide a better interface for crash data entry.

    January 8, 2014

  • Muhammad

    My apologies for the last minute change. But I look forward to hacking with you all next week.

    January 8, 2014

  • Ameen S.

    I changed my RSVP to no, because I would have to arrive late. I'd love to know what tools are planned and how I can help though

    January 8, 2014

  • Emil

    Unfortunately, I won't be able to make it tonight. I'd love to participate in the next CC/CB hack. Looking forward to seeing the projects develop!

    1 · January 8, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    What kind of data will be available?

    January 8, 2014

    • Noel Hidalgo | B.

      We'll be using NYC.gov/data and data.ny.gov and a few other sources. What other data are you looking for?

      January 8, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      None necessarily. Was just asking what data was gonna be used.

      January 8, 2014

  • Evan A.

    If I am an interested party with minimal technical expertise should I be attending this?

    January 7, 2014

    • Noel Hidalgo | B.

      Addtionally, if you have project management skills, that would be awesome.

      January 8, 2014

    • Ariel

      I'd also love to see my designer friends attend. UX, visual, whatever you got, we need you too!

      2 · January 8, 2014

  • Martha G.

    I start a Tuesday/Wednesday app class tonight; sadly will have to miss this.

    January 7, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Will any part of the event be streaming online?

    January 6, 2014

    • Noel Hidalgo | B.

      Sadly, no. Most of this will be done though small breakout groups.

      January 7, 2014

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