Push, Pull, and Spill: A Transdisciplinary Case Study in Municipal Open Government

51 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2015 Last revised: 6 Nov 2015

Jan Whittington

University of Washington - Department of Urban Design and Planning

Ryan Calo

University of Washington - School of Law; Stanford University - Law School; Yale Law School

Mike Simon

Creation Logic, LLC

Jesse Woo

Georgia Institute of Technology

Meg Young

University of Washington Information School

Peter Schmiedeskamp

University of Washington - College of Built Environments - Department of Urban Design and Planning

Date Written: October 29, 2015

Abstract

Cities hold considerable information, including details about the daily lives of residents and employees, maps of critical infrastructure, and records of the officials’ internal deliberations. Cities are beginning to realize that this data has economic and other value: If done wisely, the responsible release of city information can also release greater efficiency and innovation in the public and private sector. New services are cropping up that leverage open city data to great effect.

Meanwhile, activist groups and individual residents are placing increasing pressure on state and local government to be more transparent and accountable, even as others sound an alarm over the privacy issues that inevitably attend greater data promiscuity. This takes the form of political pressure to release more information, as well as increased requests for information under the many public records acts across the country.

The result of these forces is that cities are beginning to open their data as never before. It turns out there is surprisingly little research to date into the important and growing area of municipal open data. This article is among the first sustained, cross-disciplinary assessments of an open municipal government system. We are a team of researchers in law, computer science, information science, and urban studies. We have worked hand-in-hand with the City of Seattle, Washington for the better part of a year to understand its current procedures from each disciplinary perspective. Based on this empirical work, we generate a set of recommendations to help the city manage risk latent in opening its data.

Keywords: open government, government information, privacy, datasets, cities, municipalities, data management, information technology, qualitative research, government contracting

Suggested Citation

Whittington, Jan and Calo, Ryan and Simon, Mike and Woo, Jesse and Young, Meg and Schmiedeskamp, Peter, Push, Pull, and Spill: A Transdisciplinary Case Study in Municipal Open Government (October 29, 2015). Berkeley Technology Law Journal, Forthcoming; University of Washington School of Law Research Paper No. 2015-23. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2636074

Jan M. Whittington (Contact Author)

University of Washington - Department of Urban Design and Planning ( email )

Seattle, WA
United States
(206) 221-6298 (Phone)
(206) 685-9597 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://urbdp.be.washington.edu/people/jan-whittington/

Ryan Calo

University of Washington - School of Law ( email )

William H. Gates Hall
Box 353020
Seattle, WA 98105-3020
United States

Stanford University - Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

Yale Law School ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

Michael Simon

Creation Logic, LLC ( email )

Seattle, WA

HOME PAGE: http://www.creationlogic.com/cl_staff.html

Jesse Woo

Georgia Institute of Technology ( email )

GA
United States

Margaret E Young

University of Washington Information School ( email )

Seattle, WA
United States

Peter Schmiedeskamp

University of Washington - College of Built Environments - Department of Urban Design and Planning ( email )

224 Gould Hall
Box 355726
Seattle, WA 98195
United States

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