In recent decades, cities and advocates across the United States have made huge strides in opening their data to the public. But this approach—”if you build it, they will come”—has increasingly come under scrutiny from the open data community, as download and usage rates of data have plateaued. For many cities, the promise of open data seems to be falling short; many are wondering whether technical issues, data capacity, public awareness, or other hidden factors are to blame.
New York City, a leader in the open data movement and a pioneer in increasing open data supply, is now leading the charge to solve this new challenge of open data demand. New York is the only city that has enshrined open data in law, and has committed to releasing all of its 1,600+ city datasets to the public through its flagship Open Data Portal. With the “Open Data for All” initiative launched in 2015, the City is now working to make this wealth of data appealing and accessible to all New Yorkers. The Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation (MOTI) engaged Reboot to help shape and guide the public-facing strategy of the initiative, in recognition of both our previous successful work with New York City and our long expertise in using open data for impact.