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The City of Saint Louis has a wealth of data concerning vacant properties. Unfortunately, like many cities, it also has a data management problem. Data regarding vacant parcels is fractured, spread across many databases owned and maintained by numerous agencies and departments using a variety of technologies. In order to fully understand and eventually address this problem, a group of concerned citizens has begun building a single source of truth; a central data repository that normalizes and visualizes the problem not just for policy makers and city officials, but for normal citizens as well. In this talk, we will look at how this data portal was made, and how determined volunteers with the right skills can effect local government.
Jonathan Leek is a Data and Analytics consultant for Daugherty Business Solutions and cofounder of OpenSTL, Saint Louis' Code for America Brigade. He has a history of entrepreneurship and civic involvement, and believes in volunteering and activism using all the skills one has at their disposal.
Laura works as Program Manager for the City of St. Louis where she combines data-driven solutions and community participatory mapping exercises to inform neighborhood planning. She developed a GIS model that prioritizes locations for the removal of impervious surface in St. Louis, to mitigate local flooding and increase the City's resilience to climate change. Laura believes that improved data management and transparency allows for better civic engagement, and that increased collaborations between government, private tech, and academia are necessary to infuse innovation into government planning and policy.