Little Rock, Arkansas Launches Open Data Effort


New open data portals are coming online in Little Rock, Arkansas as a result of the city’s inclusion in the Bloomberg Philanthropies What Works Cities initiative. The portals will include data on budget information, public safety statistics, and 311 requests.

According to a statement put out by City Manager Bruce Moore, Little Rock aims to serve as a model city for the rest of Arkansas in terms of transparency. “We believe that an educated citizenry is a better citizenry. We think that in this data-driven society, it is our responsibility to offer creative solutions to issues our citizens face, to be proactive in sharing information in the form of data sets and to provide the resources for more robust engagement with our publics, whether it’s a media outlet, a local university’s graduate class in information quality, an app developer or a group of concerned residents,” Moore said in the statement.

Little Rock is partnering with Results for America, the Government Performance Lab at Harvard Kennedy School, the Sunlight Foundation and the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University to get mentorship and expertise for its open data work. The partnerships come as part of Little Rock’s inclusion in What Works Cities.

Moore says Little Rock will also be establishing an open data governance committee that will also provide policy recommendations for an official municipal open data policy.

In addition to Little Rock, What Works Cities announced that five other municipalities joined the program this week. Those cities include – Boston, Massachusetts; Charlotte, North Carolina; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Victorville, California. What Works Cities also released a study that shows that while most municipalities across the US have embraced the philosophy of opening up more data, few actually have the resources and skills needed to implement open data projects in a way that is helpful to both government workers and local individuals.

The full report is available here.