Eric Roche, Chief Data Officer for KCMO and Code for KC Core Team member, spoke at Code for KC’s Learn Night on February 29, 2018.  The work done by the analysts in the Office of Performance Management where Eric works has earned Kansas City a Silver Certification awarded by What Works Cities.

Eric’s presentation covered three data-driven approaches the city uses to monitor and improve city services: KC Stat, Resident Survey, and Open Data KC.

KC Stat

KC Stat is the answer to making transparent, regular, and publicly accessible updates on the citywide business plan. It’s a service unique to Kansas City, combining data, public officials and subject matter experts in both a monthly meeting as well as the KC Stat Dashboard. The meeting is open to attend, live-tweeted and televised. The Dashboard is a detailed view of progress towards goals set for the citywide business plan.

KC Stat allows analysts to test assumptions about city performance factors. Eric provided an example about valuing housing in Kansas City. The city’s Market Value Analysis (MVA) shows where affordable, quality housing is located throughout the city, but isn’t a policy on how to maintain that residential value and reduce code violations. A common assumption was that code violations would be higher in neighborhoods with more renters occupying housing but statistical analysis reveals this is not true. Surprisingly, the most code violations occur in areas with a 50/50 mix of residents that are owners and renters. Now the city’s job is to find out why. These are the insights that allow the city office to create more effective policy.

Resident Survey

The Citizen Satisfaction Survey is run in partnership with the local research firm ETC, and it collects resident feedback about city services. The survey is run quarterly, instead of annually, allowing the city to be more responsive. It has higher response rate with and lower response bias, and encompasses a variety of topics including housing quality and affordability, quality of streets, opinion of the streetcar, and social mobility and equity.

Eric highlighted an example that in a recent survey the highest priority identified for residents, was infrastructure improvement, specifically dangerous building demolition. The city proposed taking out two bonds to speed up infrastructure improvements and demolitions, $800M and $10M respectively. Residents overwhelmingly approved. Roche reported that nearly all of the identified buildings have now been destroyed. View the buildings on the demolition list.

OpenData KC

“Our data is your data.” Eric’s first slide is the perfect summary of OpenData KC, which is guided by the idea that everyone should have access to this data as long as privacy is protected. OpenData KC has over 200 datasets and over 250 maps, providing raw data which can be exported in multiple formats.

Eric’s top 5 datasets

To view presentation sides from the Learn Night, visit our Slideshare.

Code for KC hosts Learn Nights every third Monday of the month from 6-8pm.

Further Reading