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Data Stewardship for Cities in Practice

Data Stewards Academy Graduates present data re-use initiatives

Posted on 27th of July 2023 by Adrienne Schmoeker

Data Stewardship for Cities in Practice
Data Stewardship for Cities in Practice

The Data Steward’s Academy Data Re-Use in Cities Course hosted a Final Showcase event in mid-July to mark the culmination of its 8-week Executive Education intensive course. 

This event featured remarks by Stefaan Verhulst (Co-Founder and Chief Research and Development Officer and Director of the Data Program at The GovLab) as well as Gretchen Deo (Director of Policy Outreach and Open Innovation of the Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft) and Claudia Juech (Bloomberg Philanthropies). These remarks provided guests with a review of the work that had been done over the past eight weeks and the need for responsible data stewardship in cities around the world. They also introduced breakout sessions for the course participants to present their data re-use projects for advice and feedback. 

Dsa1Stefaan Verhulst providing opening remarks at the Final Showcase event

In breakout sessions, attendees could present their work to guest faculty for the Data Stewards Academy, members of the Data Stewards Society (alumni from prior Data Stewards Academy courses) and friends of The GovLab, including representatives from the UN Executive Office of the Secretary-General, DataKind, Meta, LinkedIn,, the City of Timișoara, City of Dubai and Arlington County Government from the US and many others. 

Data Re-use Strategy presentations ranged in breadth and scope—from partnerships to facilitate small business growth to improving healthcare effectiveness thanks to data for re-use. Some of these projects include efforts: 

  • Leveraging private sector waste-management data and citizen-reported data to affect behavioral change towards reducing waste and circular economy efforts
  • Understanding information demand from small businesses to prioritize open data releases from city government 
  • Encouraging re-use of sustainability indicators for more than compliance reporting across cities
  • Applying survey data to broader use to support service delivery for those living in informal settlements
  • Gathering various existing datasets in the service of reducing pedestrian accidents caused by vehicles 
  • Organizing existing datasets owned by cities relevant to transitioning to zero waste onto a singular platform and providing support on reporting and progress certification 
  • Connecting aspiring entrepreneurs and existing small businesses in the health sector to information about demand for healthcare services by leveraging data from multiple sources
  • De-siloing healthcare data across various sectors and organizations to better understand health trends, disease vectors and healthcare quality
  • Developing a central repository for labor market data to facilitate collaboration between government agencies   
  • Opening new data sources from the judicial branch of local government, banking and virtual wallet data and social security data to better understand economic abuse and coerced debt in their city 
  • Exploring a geospatial framework and local data resources to support islands’ progress towards the United Nation’s Social Development Goals
  • Identifying data about single-family home populations in order to develop tactics to reduce living space in the city to help achieve Net Zero by 2040
  • Engaging residents and the local water utility as additional data sources to provide quality assurance on local water quality 

In reflecting on the presentations, Gretchen Deo shared that it was impressive to see how the course participants highlighted issues but focused on how they could be overcome, while Stefaan Verhulst lauded the course participants for being data stewards focused on “silo-busting” and for their commitment and focus on social change. 

“You’ve committed to making a difference in your societies, data is the vehicle you’ve chosen,” Stefaan Verhulst at the Data Stewards Academy Data Re-Use in Cities Final Showcase event. 

Congratulations to our recent graduates for completing the Data Re-Use in Cities Executive Education Course and for sharing their work with The GovLab community: 

Dsa2Presentation by course participant Antigoni Karaiskou during a breakout session at the Final Event


To learn more about the course, see the self-directed resource available publicly on the Open Data Policy Lab website

If you are interested in learning more about these opportunities, be sure to sign up for the Data Stewards Network Newsletter where you can learn more about the Academy’s future course offerings and receive alerts when applications for additional cohorts open in the future. 

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