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News Releases

The latest news and announcements from Mayor Lee

News Review
Mayor Lee Announces New Standard for Housing Data Reporting & Advancing City’s Commitment to Open Data & Transparency
San Francisco Leading Way on Open Data & Transparency
Posted Date: 6/21/2013 11:00 AM
Mayor Edwin M. Lee announced the Home Facts Data Standard, which sets a standard for providing public access to building and health code enforcement data. Mayor Lee, as Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) Technology and Innovation Task Force, will announce the proposal at the USCM 81st Annual Meeting in Las Vegas and encourage other cities to adopt the standard and release building inspection details to the public.

“Harnessing the power of open government data helps to change the way citizens see and understand the health of their communities,” said Mayor Lee. “Making this information more easily accessible will benefit residents, tenant advocates and legal assistance agencies to protect healthy living conditions for families. I encourage other Mayors to adopt the Home Facts Data Standard and see how San Francisco is promoting consumer advocacy and government efficiency through our open data policies.”

The Home Facts Data Standard, developed from a partnership between Mayor Lee, the San Francisco Department of Public Health and Code for America, provides a uniform format for reporting government data on the regulation of health and safety laws for residential buildings. The data will also be in a format that computers can read so that apps and visualizations can be developed.

“This is data that affects peoples’ lives. With the Home Facts Data Standard, that information will get to where people are – and that’s the goal for open government data,” said Code for America Interim Executive Director Abhi Nemani. “Standards and schemas may come across as vague or ambiguous terms, but this is what they mean: putting government data in the hands of citizens. San Francisco continues to lead on this important challenge.”

Civic data standards are common formats governments can use to publish data, so it can more easily reach citizens and organizations making decisions. Greater transparency of housing inspection and violation histories strengthens compliance with health, safety, and habitability regulations. Trulia, a real estate and neighborhood database, has offered to display some of the public data on their website, further illustrating the potential of opening up data to all.

“One of the main reasons we started Trulia was to bring transparency to the real estate industry and to help consumers make smart real estate decisions. During the past eight years we have worked hard to bring forth data on more than 100 million homes and we have partnered with local governments and the federal government to bring more data to consumers about homes and neighborhoods across America,” said CEO and co-founder of Trulia Pete Flint. “We look forward to working with San Francisco and other cities to incorporate this new layer of housing data made available by the standard announced today.”

This initiative builds on San Francisco’s national leadership in the Open Data movement since 2009, when then Mayor Gavin Newsom signed the country’s first Open Data legislation. In just a few years, more than 500 data sets have been uploaded on San Francisco’s public portal DataSF. Hundreds of apps and businesses have been created using San Francisco’s public data, as non-profit and private sector entrepreneurs transform complicated public data into easy to read informative visualizations and apps for the phone and web.

The Home Facts Data Standard and the partnerships with Code for America and Trulia are examples of how San Francisco continues to partner with innovators and entrepreneurs to help both the government and citizens tackle the most pressing civic issues. Trulia, Lovely, Padmapper, and Civic Industries are the leading companies that have committed to integrating data from the standard into their platforms. Socrata and Accela are partners committed to open data and capable of helping client government agencies publish data to be compliant with this new standard.

Municipalities across the U.S. have already committed to adopting or testing the Housing Facts standard, including Olathe, KS , Kansas City, MO, Las Vegas, NV, Bayside, WI, Bloomington, IN, and Gary, IN. Any municipality may participate by adopting the standard. Civic data standards are common formats governments can use to publish data, so it can more easily reach citizens and organizations making decisions. To begin the process, cities can contact Code for America via: www.housefacts.me.

This partnership with Trulia and Code for America illustrates Mayor Lee’s larger effort to keep San Francisco on the cutting edge of government innovation, efficiency, and transparency. It adds to a list of other significant accomplishments in this realm. In January, San Francisco unveiled a partnership with the business-rating site Yelp and the city’s Department of Public Health to give citizens health information about where they were eating. Yelp now displays the health inspection scores for all restaurants in San Francisco, giving a number score and overview of recent violations.

Appallicious is the first developer to use the data sets and will launch a Neighborhood Score app, which for the first time uses Federal, State and City open data to evaluate the healthy neighborhoods using a Sustainable Communities Index, a system of indicators for livable, equitable and prosperous cities.

At the USCM 81st Annual Meeting this weekend, Mayor Lee is sponsoring a number of resolutions aimed at advancing technology polices in the country. The first resolution supports the increased momentum to bolster unrepresented students’ interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields. The second is a resolution in support of policies for sharable cities, encouraging cities to look at the benefits of the sharing economy with a focus on how the sharing economy can help improve civic engagement and challenges that cities face like aid in disaster recovery efforts. The third resolution is in support of increased access to broadband and spectrum in order to meet the increased demand for high speed and wireless technologies.

The full text of proposed resolutions for the USCM 81st Annual Meeting can be found here: http://usmayors.org/81stAnnualMeeting/media/proposed-resolutions.pdf

About Code for America
Founded in 2009, Code for America (CfA) is a nonprofit collaborating with local governments to foster and facilitate innovation. CfA is known for its fellowship program, which embeds tech and design professionals in local governments explore new approaches to resolving local challenges. Through the Accelerator, Brigade, and Peer Network programs, CfA is connecting cities with startups and volunteers, as well as each other. For more information, go to: http://codeforamerica.org.

About Trulia
Trulia (NYSE: TRLA) gives home buyers, sellers, owners, and renters the inside scoop on properties, places, and real estate professionals. Trulia has unique info on the areas people want to live that can't be found anywhere else: users can learn about agents, neighborhoods, schools, crime, commute times, and even ask the local community questions. Real estate professionals use Trulia to connect with millions of transaction-ready buyers and sellers each month via our hyper-local advertising services, social recommendations, and top-rated mobile real estate apps. Trulia is headquartered in downtown San Francisco. For more information, go to: http://trulia.com.

About Appallicious
Appallicious has created a first-of-its-kind mobile commerce platform, which allows government and business to create and manage their own custom mobile apps and generate new revenue through ticketing, reservations, merchandising, permitting and more via mobile devices and web widgets. The Skipitt Platform enables government and business to generate revenue by leveraging your existing customer base and extending it via mobile. Appallicious is based in San Francisco, CA and is a Silicon Valley Innovation Summit A0250 to Watch Winner. For more information, go to: http://www.appallicious.com.