"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"

Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
(used with permission)

"If you don't like the news .... go out and make some of your own !!"

Wes "Scoop" Nisker, Newscaster


Government is a slow and tedious process. While it often includes citizen and neighborhood involvement, non-governmental, private organizations have created movements and interesting groups which can create positive change in our cities and towns.

I am fascinated by the way groups are created and how they influence public decision making. This blog merely recognizes them and forwards the description of these groups from their own websites.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Data Driven Detroit

Location: Detroit,

Website: www.datadrivendetroit.org

From the Michigan Metropolitan Information Center at Wayne State University, to the Southeast Michigan Information Center at United Way, there have been many initiatives to collect and democratize data about Detroit and its neighborhoods.

In 2008, The Skillman Foundation and The Kresge Foundation awarded City Connect Detroit a $1.85 million grant to incubate Data Driven Detroit (originally named the Detroit-Area Community Information System).

Within its first year, D3 was selected by the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP). NNIP is a select group of organizations that have built advanced and continuously updated data systems to track neighborhood conditions in their cities.

In December 2012, after an extensive period of review, discussion and due diligence, Data Driven Detroit became an affiliated program of the Michigan Nonprofit Association.

This move has strengthened D3′s operations and increased our exposure to a statewide network of member nonprofits and philanthropic organizations. Data Driven Detroit provides accessible, high-quality information and analysis to drive informed decision-making.

D3 believes that direct and practical use of data by grassroots leaders and public officials promotes thoughtful community building and effective policymaking.

As a “one-stop-shop” for data about the city of Detroit and the metro area, D3 provides unprecedented opportunity for collaboration and capacity building in Southeast Michigan.

D3 incorporates features of “neighborhood data systems” that have been created in a variety of cities across the country. Such systems have been recognized and championed by the Urban Institute, which created the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership in 1995. NNIP partner communities incorporate a number of different models of data access and analysis.

While their structures, staff, and delivery mechanisms may differ, they share a set of principles that D3 supports:

- Design indicator systems for the explicit purpose of changing things – not just to monitor trends.

- Develop a single integrated system that can support one-stop shopping.

- Develop indicators at the neighborhood level – not just for the city as a whole.

- Build a data “warehouse” from which indicator reports can be derived – not just a set of files on indicators.

- Serve multiple users but emphasize using information to build capacity in poor communities.

- Democratize information – help stakeholders use information directly themselves.

- Help stakeholders use data to tackle local issues, but do so in a way that leads toward more comprehensive strategies.

- Use information as a bridge to promote collaboration.

- Use available indicators but recognize their inadequacies – particularly the lack of sufficient data on community assets.

- Assure integrity in the data and the institution that provides them.

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