There is growing awareness that open data can contribute economic and social value. In practice, this happens not only at the national and state level but also, and perhaps more importantly, at the level of local communities. With these localized open data impacts in mind, community colleges and public universities have the opportunity to play a significant role in supporting open data access and innovation.
Lehman College, a senior college of the City University of New York (CUNY), is pioneering New York City’s first neighborhood-specific data portal, Lehman Community Connect: Bronx Information Portal. In addition to pulling publically available data about the Bronx from disparate sources into one location, the portal employs a map-based interface, a design that maximizes accessibility and usability for a wide audience. Users can also explore, download and put to use the over 600 data sets that are behind the maps and charts. Data sets are organized into six categories including: education, environment and sustainability, health, Lehman community involvement, my neighborhood, and population. The platform’s core team launched the portal to encourage students, faculty, researchers and the public to explore data about their community and develop creative solutions to civic problems. Indeed, they are already seeing success on these fronts within and outside the academy walls.
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