20 Ways to Connect Open Data and Local Democracy

Ideas from the “20 Ways to Connect Open Data and Local Democracy” workshop at #notwestminster 2015, hosted by Tim Davies.

Tim Davies at #notwestminster
Tim Davies at #notwestminster – photo NotWestminster (12 of 30) by Anthony Mckeown

Workshop challenge

Lots of energy in the open government world goes into open data. But too often data practices don’t connect with citizens in ways that shift the balance of power and lead to change. We need to re-imagine how open data can be produced, shared and used at a local level. In this workshop we explored how local government could do open data.

The three ideas

Flag created by Juan Pablo Bravo from The Noun Project

    1. How to use data to decide what to do with £1million funding:Decide on engagement strategy for how you want people to be involved.
      Think about how data can help:
      – Contextualised consultation -> What will the impact of decisions be?
      – Data driven art -> Recognising emotive decisions.
      – Participatory planning -> Visualising the impacts.

    3. How  we use data to address a growing problem with pigeons feeding on an estate:- Collate hard data from different agencies & private sector enforcers, to compare with existing soft data & understand scale of problem.
      – Find New artistic ways of presenting data to help offenders better understand the impact of their actions.

    5. Planning – in terms of opposition hard to help citizens understand and interpret the data. How?
      – Free up council GIS staff.
      – Get consultation happening earlier to avoid retrospective errors.
      – Visualisation – create meaningful images.


Want to join us in working on one or more of these ideas?
You can Leave a Reply at the foot of this page.



Open data placard



20 ways to connect open data and local democracy – by Tim Davies

“In the workshop we explored how these, and other approaches, could be used to respond to priority local issues, from investing funds in environmental projects, to shaping local planning processes, and dealing with nuisance pigeons.”

Open data workshop photo by Anthony McKeown
Open data workshop at #notwestminster – photo NotWestminster (8 of 51) by Anthony Mckeown





About the workshop host

Tim DaviesTim Davies

Researcher, practitioner and Co-director at Practical Participation

Tim Davies is a researcher and practitioner working at the intersection of technology, civic engagement and social justice. As a PhD Candidate at the University of Southampton, and affiliate at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society, he has been working on understanding the democratic dimensions of open government data policy. From 2012 to 2014 he led the World Wide Web Foundation’s Open Data in Developing Countries project, coordinating a global research network exploring the uses of data in local and national governance.

Tim’s blog


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