Boston joins global data initiative


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Boston recently became the first American city to join the World Council of City Data, a global consortium working to develop international standards for city data with the aim of building an open data platform for global cities.

The Hub City joins a select group of the world’s largest and most influential cities in the initiative that officially launched this past May, including Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Dubai, Helsinki, Johannesburg, London and Shanghai.

“We welcome the opportunity to contribute to this influential partnership that is helping to shape how cities across the globe use and share data,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement. “We rely on good data to inform a lot of what we do in city government, and the chance to share best practices with such a diverse group of international cities is very exciting.”

The WCCD is working to coordinate efforts across cities to ensure a consistent and comprehensive platform for standardized urban metrics and act as a global hub for learning between the world’s largest cities, international organizations, private sector organizations and academia.

The creation of the WCCD stems from seven years of successful work to develop a globally standardized data platform for cities, leading to the very first standard on city metrics, published as ISO 37120 in May by the Geneva-based International Organization for Standardization.

“We are honored to have Boston as one of the Foundation Cities of the WCCD,” said Patricia McCarney, President and CEO of the World Council on City Data, in a release. “Boston will be one of the first cities to be certified under ISO 37120, the first international standard for cities, confirming Boston’s dedication to open city data and sustainable development in partnership with other leading cities around the world.”

The research division of the Boston Redevelopment Authority will lead and manage Boston’s participation in the World Council on City Data. It will be responsible for compiling the required indicators and submitting them to the council. Afterwards, the WCCD will review the data and reconvene for a meeting in November.

The cities in this group have committed to compiling at least 46 core indicators according to standardized definitions and methodologies. These indicators focus on the economy, education, energy and the environment, finance, emergency response, governance and more.

Core city indicators might include unemployment rate, percentage of students completing secondary education and average life expectancy, to name a few examples.

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Massachusetts, States