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Greater Tulsa Reporter


Urban Data Program Helps Tulsa to Compete

From Tulsa's Mayor by Mayor G. T. Bynum

ENGAGED CITY: Tulsa was recently named as one of three Cities, and the only U.S. city, to win $70,000 for the Engaged Cities Award.


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When I took office, our City of Tulsa team recognized the benefits of using data to help solve public problems, drive policy and measure results. However, as we tried using data to guide decisions and lower barriers to innovation, we lacked the ability to use our own data and the data analytics talent needed to transform local government’s use of data-driven evidence. But that didn’t stop us. We found a solution.

For the past year, the Urban Data Pioneers (UDP) have mined and harnessed data to benefit all of Tulsa. Teams of City employees and community members have used data to understand problems better and learn what affects Tulsa’s population growth, understanding the connection between blight and violent crime, and analyzing how our land-use decisions impact sales-tax collections.

We invited citizens to form a new collaborative group of civic data analysts. At the first meeting, 60 people formed five teams to work on data projects, such as analyzing population growth in neighborhoods. We also attracted interest from our non-profit community who worked with city officials on projects connected to data analysis to achieve progress in housing, public health and education, and unleash the power of administrative datasets. These talented UDP members range from nonprofits, to the Tulsa City-County Health Department, to civic coders and data professionals.

UDP is still going strong and will enter its fourth group later this year with more than 120 people engaged in serving up data that has helped us analyze per capita income and its direct relation to Tulsa’s high school graduation rates.

All of UDP’s hard work is paying off. I’m so pleased to tell you that Tulsa was recently named as one of three Cities, and the only U.S. city to win $70,000 for the Engaged Cities Award. This international recognition program award was due to the Urban Data Pioneers program, created by our Performance Strategy and Innovation Office to engage citizens to tackle problems by using data.

This is a big deal for Tulsa! I greatly appreciate the incredible opportunity we had to compete on an international level. It clearly demonstrates to the rest of the world that Tulsa’s on the cutting edge of creative problem solving. When we focus on a goal and have specific strategies to support it, the sky is the limit on the different things we can test.

I want the world to know that Tulsa will continue to build a city to use evidence, data and evaluation to solve our greatest challenges. We are grasping the opportunity presented by innovation to build better communities for our neighbors and a path to a better future for us all.

Updated 06-18-2018

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