Publications

OpenNorth has published a variety of papers and best practice guides with partners internationally that deliver impactful results for municipal officials and their citizens.

Open Data for Smart City and Urban Development: Cases of Open Data Production and Use in the Global South

Open data has proven useful in the global South where progress can often be inhibited by socioeconomic factors. In such places, open data enables governments, international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and local public and private leaders to innovate and create. Events such as the International Open Data Conference (IODC) and organisations such as the Open Data for Development network (OD4D) provide a home for open data practitioners from the global South. This report examines the responses of 15 city officials during structured interviews OpenNorth conducted in eight cities including Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; Accra, Ghana; Freetown, Sierra Leone; Cape Town, South Africa; Dhaka, Bangladesh; Kathmandu, Nepal; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and, Montevideo, Uruguay. The report concludes with recommendations for facilitating increased networking across the global South as a means to solve the intractable problems urban areas face.

Author: OpenNorth

Funded by the International Development Research Centre

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State of Open Data Chapter 16. Urban Development

Creating vibrant communities, maintaining mobility, delivering essential services, and creating low-carbon development may depend on the critical role open data plays for many cities and their citizens. Achieving each of these goals means reconciling differing visions of what effective urban development looks like and means. The ongoing growth of the urban environment and of urban density brings with it both opportunities and challenges. Published in the State of Open Data (2019), this chapter examines how the open data movement has shifted away from events such as hackathons to work on data standards, infrastructure, and in-house analytical capacity within city governments. It examines the implications of these shifts for urban development and the future of open data as an integral part of urban governance.

Author: OpenNorth

Funded by the International Development Research Centre

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Open Smart Cities Guide

The Open Smart Cities Guide is the end result of Open Smart Cities in Canada, a year long collaborative research project led by our organization. This guide provides a first ever definition for an Open Smart City and is intended as a starter kit for city stakeholders and decision makers. We expect that this living document will grow as we receive more input and learn about additional people, projects, practices, and resources that contribute to Open Smart Cities.

Check out OpenNorth’s Current Projects Page for more information about Open Smart Cities in Canada and descriptions of its outputs. Direct links to project outputs are provided below:

Open Smart Cities in Canada is a collaborative project. We would like to thank smart city representatives from the cities of Edmonton, Guelph, Montréal, and Ottawa and officials from the provinces of British Columbia and Ontario for sharing their time, expertise and experiences with us. Furthermore, this project benefits from contributions made by the project’s core team of experts and researchers. We are grateful to Professor Tracey P. Lauriault (Carleton University), David Fewer, LL.M., (Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic {CIPPIC}), and Professor Mark Fox (University of Toronto) for providing their expert advice on the design of research and its outputs. Finally, we thank graduate students Stephen Letts and Carly Livingstone (Carleton University) for research assistance and editing over the course of the project.

Authors: Tracey P. Lauriault (Carleton University), Rachel Bloom (OpenNorth) and Jean-Noé Landry (OpenNorth).

Funded by Natural Resources Canada’s GeoConnections program in 2018.

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This OpenNorth study examines open data standards practices to determine where they produce barriers to accessibility in terms of discovering, accessing and using data. It recommends standards for more global adoption to enable information sharing. The findings were presented at the International Open Data Conference (IODC) in 2015 for which OpenNorth served as the conference reporting anchor for the standards stream.

Authors: Stéphane Guidoin (OpenNorth), Paulina Marczak (OpenNorth), Juan Pane (ILDA), James McKinney (OpenNorth)

Funded by Open Data for Development in Spring 2015

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Understanding the Data Needs of Settlement Stakeholders to Better Support Newcomers and Refugees

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) commissioned this study from OpenNorth in 2016, when Canada was facing an influx of Syrian refugees. The report focuses on how IRCC’s open data strategy and infrastructure could better meet the data and information needs of their stakeholders, with key recommendations on data quality, accessibility and standards. The study is based on a combined qualitative and qualitative data user needs identification methodology developed by OpenNorth.

Authored by OpenNorth

Funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in April 2016

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Data 4 Impact Report 2016

Reporting from the 1st annual Data 4 Impact workshop held in Saint John (NB) in the lead-up to the Canadian Open Data Summit 2016. The event brought together more than 60 regional and local not-for-profit organizations to raise awareness about the value of data sharing within the sector, provide frameworks and techniques to facilitate the use of data and share use cases of community data collaboratives. The workshop was co-organized and facilitated in collaboration with Data4Good and the New Brunswick Social Policy Research Networks’ (NBSPRN).

Authored by OpenNorth, Data for Good, New Brunswick Social Policy Research Network in August 2016

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How Can We Improve Urban Resilience with Open Data?

Urban resilience is focused around issues that are constantly changing and evolving, such as migration patterns, employment trends, industrial development, and climate change. Launched at the OGP’s annual conference in Paris in 2016, OpenNorth’s discussion paper on the value added by open data in addressing urban resilience is based on the input of 35 global south and north experts. The discussion paper informs OpenNorth’s contribution in developing the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR)’s Making Cities Resilient Campaign toolkit.

Authors: Jean-Noé Landry (OpenNorth), Keira Webster (OpenNorth, Geothink), Bianca Wylie (OpenNorth), Pamela Robinson MCIP RPP (Urban Planning Ryerson University, Geothink Researcher)

Funded by Open Data for Development in December 2016

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Aligning Canadian Open Data Programs with International Best Practices

The international Open Data Charter (ODC) is a set of 6 principles that provide governments with a common foundation upon which to realise the full potential of open data. As Steward of the ODC, OpenNorth interviewed ten cities and four provinces in Canada to discuss how the ODC could align with sub-national open data policies and programs. The report is a collaboration with Geothink. The City of Edmonton was Canada’s first city to subsequently adopt the ODC and OpenNorth currently advises the Province of Ontario on the ODC’s implementation.

Authors: Erin Bryson (OpenNorth, Geothink), Jean-Noé Landry (OpenNorth), Prof Peter Johnson (University of Waterloo)

Funded by Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Grant, Geothink, in January 2017.

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Understanding the Digital Capacity of Newcomer Settlement Organizations

Conducted in 2017, this follow-up research project conducted for IRCC was designed to gain a deeper understanding of the digital capacity and needs of service provider organizations that serve newcomers in Canada and inform support recommendations for the sector. OpenNorth collected the input of 261 newcomer settlement organizations with a primary data collection tool and presented its findings in a French and English webinar.

Authored by OpenNorth

Funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in April 2017

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Data 4 Impact Report 2017

Reporting from the 2nd annual Data 4 Impact workshop held in Edmonton (AB) in the lead-up to the Canadian Open Data Summit 2017. The event brought together more than 80 regional and local not-for-profit organizations to raise awareness about the value of data sharing within the sector, provide frameworks and techniques to facilitate the use of data and share use cases of community data collaboratives. The workshop was co-organized and facilitated in collaboration with Data4Good and Powered by Data.

Authored by OpenNorth, Powered by Data, Data for Good in August 2017

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Linking legislative openness to open data in Canada

Legislatures are increasingly attuned to the rhetoric of open data for legislative content like bills and Hansards that dictates it be freely accessible, repurposable, machine-readable, standardized across subregions, and available without licensing restrictions. The call for legislative openness also derives from open data advocates, who seek to apply the rules of open data to unstructured information. We do not know whether legislative openness in Canada, at the provincial and territorial level, matches the rhetoric of open data. This study focused on commonly occurring categories of information on subnational legislative websites and examined their copyright, availability, archivability, information timeliness, and plain language descriptions.

Authors: Paulina Marczak (Queen’s University, former OpenNorth research intern), Renée Sieber (McGill University, Geothink Lead) in September 2017

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From Development to Adoption: Lessons from Three Open Standards

Developing and maintaining data standards is difficult, but a necessary step to unlock the potential for open data. To maximise the potential for widespread adoption, new standards initiatives must build upon the success and failure of existing standards. We document our own experiences with Open511, Popolo and Represent to share with the open data community.

Authored by OpenNorth

Funded by Open Data Institute (ODI) in December 2017

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Canada in the World: Towards Canadian-Led Open Government

In collaboration with Powered by Data, OpenNorth identified the opportunities for Canada to take a leadership role in the global open government movement and expand the Federal Government’s open government policy internationally. We position open government within the arena of foreign policy and as an alternative form of Canadian soft power. Based on the views of 13 Canadian open government experts, the following 6 themes provide guidance for Canada’s leadership role as a member of the Open Government Partnership Steering Committee:

  1. Lead by Example
  2. Active and Proactive Participation by Politicians and Civil Servants at all Levels
  3. Clarify the Message
  4. Go Beyond Compliance
  5. Translate Open Government to Other Policy Areas
  6. Reinforce the Relationship with Canadian Civil Society Organisations

Authored by OpenNorth and Powered by Data

Funded by OpenNorth and Powered by Data in November 2017

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Making Cities Open by Default: Lessons from Open Data Pioneers

In collaboration with the Open Data Charter Secretariat, OpenNorth interviewed city managers, local civic leaders, and elected officials from four cities in Canada, the Province of Ontario, and three cities around the world (Buenos Aires, Argentina; Lviv, Ukraine; Durham, NC, USA) to identify barriers to adoption of open data and how support future needs. This report examines the important role the Open Data Charter network can play in connecting local governments around the world. Of the 52 governments that have adopted the Open Data Charter, 35 are local or subnational. This report concludes with six important findings about open data for local government including that : 1) There are strong incentives for cities to open up their data, and the Charter can help them to do this; 2) If “open by default” is applied to a city’s broader data management systems it can allow better internal data sharing, as well as improving access to information for citizens; 3) Opening data does not automatically create a data literate public​; 4) Achieving impact through open data requires interjurisdictional cooperation; 5) Policy and standard development is not keeping up with the pace of change; 6) Governments cannot be ‘open by default’ without open procurement.​

Authored by OpenNorth and Open Data Charter

Funded by Open Data Charter in February 2018

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The Hub Model: The Potential for Philanthropic Intervention in Integrated Service Delivery

The Province of Saskatchewan’s Hub model is a strong example of a cross-jurisdictional, cross-sectoral, integrated service delivery model that is changing the way human services are delivered to the public. Through its highly flexible–but privacy-conscious–structure, Hubs in Saskatchewan are bringing together service providers into collaborative settings and building relationships. In this model, service providers collaborate, share data, and address common problems. Our investigation of the Hub is aimed at documenting its functioning and investigating perceptions surrounding it and the potential role of philanthropy.

We would like to thank the following for their valuable input: Social Innovation Exchange (SIX), Community Safety Knowledge Alliance (CSKA), the Government of Saskatchewan (Ministry of Justice, Community Safety & Wellbeing), the Yorkton Hub and the Prince Albert Centre of Responsibility.

Authored by OpenNorth

This project was funded by the J.W. McConnell Foundation in 2017.

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Gaps and opportunities for standardization in Open Government Partnership (OGP) members' open data catalogs

OpenNorth co-leads the standards stream of the OGP Open Data Working Group from 2014-2015. In that capacity, Open Data 4 Development funded OpenNorth to investigate reporting and analysis practices of OGP members’ catalogs, study existing processes to identify gaps and opportunities in how standards are applied and suggest baseline standards and best practices to enhance data usability.

Authors: James McKinney (OpenNorth), Stéphane Guidoin (OpenNorth), Paulina Marczak (OpenNorth)

Funded by Open Data for Development in Winter 2015

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