Code for America, the State of Black Asheville and City of Asheville will collaborate in a Community Fellowship Program partnership designed to bring relevant criminal justice data to City residents, especially vulnerable populations.
Asheville City Council approved funding for the partnership at its Aug. 28 meeting at a cost of $10,000, plus expenses not to exceed $11,000. Code for America will be contributing approximately eight times this amount to the effort.
One partnership goal is to enhance the State of Black Asheville site through interactive data visualizations and tools, integrated with open data from the City and other sources. The fellowship work will focus on issues underlying criminal justice racial disparities in Asheville and the creation of shared visual tools designed to identify these types of issues. All work will be released as open-source software so that any individual or organization can use or adapt it.
Asheville is one of four cities nationwide that were honored with this fellowship by one of the leading civic innovation organizations in the country. The other honorees are much bigger cities, including Honolulu, Austin and San Jose.
Two Code for America fellows will work with the community, City staff and community partners for delivery of an open data project that improves delivery of City of Asheville data at a fraction of what it would cost City government if it were to take on the project alone. The process drives change within City government by encouraging innovation and reducing risk through early user involvement, thereby increasing the capacity for serving the public.
The Code for America fellows will spend three to six months collaborating with City staff, researching user needs and meeting with key stakeholders. Their research will inform a data-driven visual online functional tool with a criminal justice focus to be used to enhance the State of Black Asheville resource. What will that look like? It could be a webpage with a data dashboard, an application and/or it could connect to an existing City application, such as SimpliCity.
The partnership aligns with City Council’s Vision 2036 value of municipal government being connected to and engaged with the community. It also supports the City’s Equity Action Plan as well as IT Services’ strategic focus on digital engagement and inclusion.
Stay tuned! Sign up for the mailing list on StateOfBlackAsheville.org to get updates on progress and opportunities to learn more.