Title: Building Resilient Communities: Harnessing the Power of Data

Imagine waking up in 25 years, what sort of community will you be living in? More importantly, in 25 years, what sort of community do you want to be living in? City and county municipal governments want to be responsive to their residents, improve their quality of life, determine what services are needed, and to stimulate economic growth. During the course of administering public services and allocating resources, an abundance of data is generated. The story of the community is in these data. Every community has a unique phenotype, a set of characteristics that are influenced by its environment and drive its evolutionary trajectory. This presentation will share how we are fostering connections within the community to identify these unique characteristics with a focus on how to repurpose the various municipal and external data sources to support the community through data informed policy development.

By utilizing local administrative data combined with state and federal data, local blogs and social media, and commercial data, a community can translate their values into action and to solve problems of importance. We call our approach a Community Learning System (CLS). To create the CLS process requires a community engagement model which allows us to work together to identify community concerns and learn how to address them through intelligent data analysis. The CLS relies on a convergence of two processes:

Connection - bringing statistical, social, and data scientists to the community, where the data and the most intimate knowledge of the community reside, so these scientists can foster the connections to encourage data discovery, data acquisition, data sharing, and values communication

Data Liberation - making useful forms of the community’s data available to residents who can use the data to translate their values into actions, and to researchers beyond the community who can apply their expertise in data analysis and the social sciences to build a better understanding amongst the scientific community of the issues facing city and county municipal governments

To translate and scale the work with one community will require trustful partnerships. Land Grant Universities, such as VA Tech and Iowa State University, are potential partners in the development and implementation of CLS as they offer services and skills throughout their states. Working with municipalities aligns with the Land Grant University service mission to work on practical problems of importance to their state.


Event Contact:
Kimberly Lyman   Phone:571-858-3100