From Tornadoes to Transit: How Data Sharing Has Strengthened Community Development in the Twin Cities

Report by Jacob Wascalus, Jeffrey Matson
May 16, 2013

Center for Urban and Regional Affairs   (Minneapolis-St. Paul)

This is essay is from the book Strengthening Communities with Neighborhood Data, publlished by the Urban Institute.

Currently, the Twin Cities metropolitan region in Minnesota enjoys an active data-sharing environment that plays an increasingly prominent role in neighborhood and community development. Many people and institutions populate this milieu, including the county and municipal departments that collect, generate, and disseminate community data and the non-profit intermediaries that study and apply this data. Situated in the middle, of course, is the public—the community activists and neighborhood groups that, to improve their surroundings, partner with and rely on the active involvement of government departments and intermediaries. But while community residents have always sought the betterment of their environments, the ingredients necessary for successful community change haven’t always been available. This essay traces the history and current status of the data-sharing environment in the Twin Cities, with a particular emphasis on the current landscape of non-profit intermediaries that apply community data to improve neighborhoods throughout the metropolitan region.