Data-Driven Government

PAI 730; 3 credits

The Data, Innovation, and Policy Making course explores how cities have used data and technology to inform policy. Students will gain an understanding of the different kinds of data that may be available or collected to inform decision making and policy. Coursework and live class discussions will focus on how to effectively use these data to drive decision making. Topics in this course explore U.S. Census Bureau data sets and interactive mapping platform; how local governments collect data; ways data can be de-identified, aggregated, and combined; and working with crowdsourcing as a primary data source.

Students will learn about the importance of metadata (data dictionaries), and they will be introduced to new software and asked to perform simple analyses with data sets. Case studies will explore new apps and tools that allow citizens to more easily report real-time problems, such as sewer and water main breaks, potholes, and blight (e.g., blexting). During hands-on activities, students will examine the data quality of currently available apps and explore the ways in which citizens can be incentivized to act as sensors.