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Communidata – Open Data for Local Communities

The CommuniData project addresses the problem that only a minority of citizens regularly participate in collective decisions. They rarely draw on data-rich evidence to engage in public deliberation processes, despite the availability of a constantly growing range of open data sources and technical tools to access these sources. The group of citizens with the socio-technical capacity to leverage available data assets remains small. At the same time, governments, developer communities and affected communities remain disconnected.

CommuniData Goals

The CommuniData project aimed at nothing less than turning the game upside down, enabling a data-driven approach to collective decision making that

  • translates Open Data (OD) into actionable knowledge for physical, local communities,
  • connects administrations and citizens through an integrated Urban Participation Platform that builds on Open Data and related user-generated content,
  • provides novel visual tools to navigate and better understand patterns in this knowledge repository, and
  • enables communities to find, co-create and discuss Open Data to solve, e.g. urban sustainability challenges in a collaborative fashion.

From a technology perspective, the project will explore a novel amalgam of technologies extending cooperative online discussion platforms with OD-based components for searching, integrating, visualizing and enhancing the data. Putting Web Intelligence tasks in the context of discussion platforms to support efficient collaborative decision making and evidence-based argumentation represented the core innovation of the CommuniData approach.

Living Lab Experiment for Open Data

To gain insights from the patterns in which users interact with the data in the discussion process, the project launched a Living Lab Experiment based on the concept of an Urban Participation Platform: A communication platform for residents within the second district of Vienna (Leopoldstadt), synergistically connecting existing, fragmented media to and through data, to be used for self-organized joint meetings and discussion activities that foster environmental communication and the active usage of and contribution to Open Data.

Screenshot of the CommuniData Dashboard

Screenshot of the CommuniData Dashboard

The project “Open Data for Local Communities” (CommuniData) was funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT) under the ICT of the Future Program between 11-2016 and 10-2019.