Analyze Data to Resolve Urban Problems in Seoul Through Cooperative Governance with Civil Society (SEO0001)
Action Plan: Seoul, Korea Action Plan
Action Plan Cycle: 2017
Lead Institution: NA
Support Institution(s): All departments within the Seoul Metropolitan Government Korean Progressive Network Jinbonet, Green Transportation, Dotface, CodeNamu
Policy AreasAccess to Information, Open Data, Public Participation, Subnational
Issue to be Addressed: There was a need for wider access to real-life data so multiple stakeholders including academia, non-political organization, public sector and private sector can each contribute to analysing and resolving urban problems based on data. Information inequality between the Seoul Metropolitan Government and its citizens needed to be resolved. There are many implicit and complex causes for various urban problems of Seoul and the collective intelligence of the citizens is crucial to resolve them. Primary Objective: Identify the urban problems in Seoul and analyse the related data which can lead to solutions with multiple stakeholders and contribute to creating a data-driven social innovation ecosystem. Short Description: Together with CSOs and experts, identify urban problems in Seoul and analyse the related data to resolve them through cooperation. Design the system in which the data generated from the daily lives of the citizens can be safely stored without a breach of privacy. Try to apply the insight which is driven from the data analysis results into policy-making. Open the results of the data analysis to citizens in order to raise the level of citizen engagement in policy making. OGP Challenge: Citizen Participation: The Seoul Metropolitan Government collates real-life data with citizens based on crowdsourcing so the results of the analysis can be used in making effective policies based on evidence and validity. Technology & Innovation: Collection, sharing and analysis of data based on cloud technology are required for cooperation with citizens.
IRM End of Term Status Summary
1. Analyze data to resolve urban problems in Seoul through cooperative governance with civil society.
Identify the urban problems in Seoul and analyse the related data which can lead to solutions with multiple stakeholders and contribute to creating a data-driven social innovation ecosystem.
· Together with CSOs and experts, identify urban problems in Seoul and analyse the related data to resolve them through cooperation.
· Design the system in which the data generated from the daily lives of the citizens can be safely stored without a breach of privacy.
· Try to apply the insight which is driven from the data analysis results into policy-making.
· Open the results of the data analysis to citizens in order to raise the level of citizen engagement in policy making.
1. Select and agree on the urban problems to analyze based on data and design data protection system with CSOs.
1.1. Agree on the urban problems to analyze by utilizing data with CSOs.
1.2. Together with CSOs, design data protection policies.
1.3. Based on the agreed data policies, realize the system which facilitates collection, storing and analysis of data.
2. Analyze the data with CSOs and experts and disclose the results of the data analysis to citizens.
2.1. Analyze the data with CSOs and experts.
2.2. Open the results of the data analysis to citizens and try to apply the insight gained from data analysis in policy making.
Overall Objective & Relevance
The City of Seoul’s first commitment, according to the action plan, addresses a need to improve systems for the collection of data that can be used by multiple stakeholders in the analysis and resolution of urban problems.
Prior to the formulation of this commitment, the SMG was already working on the creation of a “data-based social innovation ecosystem” where the government could benefit from citizens and CSO in the design of public policy and decision making. For example, during the second quarter of 2016, two Big Data Campuses were opened for anyone who wished to participate in analyzing real-life data on a range of issues. Through this experience, the SMG learned that the supply and demand of data is not balanced (CSO, research labs and citizens have little access to pertinent real-life data) and that collective intelligence is very useful for the formulation of public policies. Seoul’s OGP action plan available in Korean and in English, http://ogp.seoul.go.kr/sub03#view/6 Additionally, during the formulation of the plan, strengthen the policies on protection of citizens’ privacy when publishing government datasets and with this in mind, the SMG decided to include this commitment, which aims to improve access to data and cooperation with multiple stakeholders in analyzing real-life related data to resolve various urban problems vis-à-vis transportation, environment, social welfare, safety, etc.
Specifically, the SMG proposes two main cumulative activities to reach this objective. First, they seek to engage with CSO in order to agree on specific urban problems that could be analyzed with the use of data, renew data protection policies by creating new guidelines and create a crowdsourcing platform that seeks solutions for the city. In regards to the new data policies, during the formulation of this commitment, the consultative group diagnosed that the issue of protection of privacy needs to be solved as to what data would be shared and analyzed with the public since certain data sets contain personal information. From the second consultative group meeting minutes (page 2), Seoul’s OGP website, 1 November 2016,
http://ogp.seoul.go.kr/sub03#view/5 Secondly, they propose to analyze the agreed upon data, make it public and “try to apply insight gained from the analysis in policy making”.
This commitment is relevant to the values of access to information, civic participation and technology and innovation, as it aims to analyze data together with citizens and share the result through pre-existing and newly-created platforms such as the big data campuses.
Specificity and Potential Impact
Although the action plan provides some verifiable activities like the design of new data protection policies, most of them require broad interpretation to be able to understand to what extent they could contribute to the commitment’s objective. For example, the action plan states that it would create an “ecosystem” that can be used for data sharing and policy-making; however, there is ambiguity as to what exactly the system means and what it would look like once created. The same goes for phrases like “try to apply the insight gained from data analysis in policy-making”, where it is not clear whether the outcomes will be easily and objectively measurable. Thus, this commitment is evaluated at medium specificity.
If fully implemented, it is envisaged that a mechanism will be established to compile and analyze data on matters pertaining to the everyday lives of citizens. However, Seoul already has a robust track record on publication of datasets for the use of citizens and businesses. One of the most active open data sites in Asia is the Open Data Plaza established in 2012 and managed by the SMG. https://knowledgedialogues.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/open-data-asia-09-2014.pdf This commitment could further encourage the use of data by promoting a formal space for citizens to request what data to be made public such as the two Big Data Campuses built in 2016. However, the commitment is limited in scope, considering the lack of specificity in language, which affects its potential impact. For example, as pointed out by an anonymous participant during the first meeting of the OGP Government/CSO consultative group, “the types of big data [to be published] by the SMG are not mentioned in the commitment, making it difficult to understand it”. From the first consultative group meeting minutes (page 8), Seoul’s OGP website, 10 October 2016, http://ogp.seoul.go.kr/sub03#view/4 More details regarding which type of data the Government commits to publish are necessary to be particularized in the commitment to assess the degree to which it would improve the analysis and resolution of urban problems. Thus, its potential impact is evaluated as “minor”.
By the end of the implementation period (December 2017), the commitment was substantially achieved. The evidence is available on the Seoul’s OGP website. Seoul’s OGP Website: http://ogp.seoul.go.kr/sub03-1#list/1
To implement the milestones, the SMG met with civil society organizations to select urban issues that needed to be solved. According to what is reported in the government repository, several issues were identified during these meetings. For example, the government held a meeting with the government Statistics Data Officer, representatives from the Green Transportation Movement and the Big Data Analysis Association to discuss and decide what data on transportation would be useful to publish for joint analysis. The group analyzed data on bicycle routes which was later made available for public consumption. Seoul’s OGP repository, description of project: http://ogp.seoul.go.kr/sub03-1#view/229577 The SMG organized similar groups for the improvement of meal plan cards for children, and fine particle air pollution problems. The results of each items are listed on the official OGP website: the analyses of bicycle routes (posting no. 23), improvement of meal plan cards for children (posting no. 24), and fine particle air pollution problem (posting no. 21) under the Commitment #1 at http://ogp.seoul.go.kr/sub03-1#list/1 The aim of these analyses is to incorporate their conclusions in the government’s policy making process. All analytical information that was created as a result of this commitment was published in Seoul’s big data website: http://bigdata.seoul.go.kr. The SMG recognized several obstacles to collecting or using the data for analysis. Specifically, the found that 1) it contained personal information under the data protection system, 2) the data was of low quality or 3) private sector entities owned the data solicited. Information provided to the researcher during the pre publication review period.
However, the evidence shows that the SMG’s Data Statistics Division met most of what was expected from the milestones by selecting and agreeing on the urban problems to analyze, conducting the analysis and publishing it. However, there is no evidence to corroborate that the data protection policies in milestone 1 were designed. The system to facilitate collection, storing and analysis appears to have been done without specific guidelines.
Early results: did it open government?
Access to information: Marginal
Civic Participation: Marginal
The goal of the commitment was to enable citizens to contribute to the government’s policy making processes by jointly identifying priorities and analyzing data. To do so, it proposed to create a mechanism that would improve collection, storing and analysis of data on matters pertaining to the everyday lives of citizens.
Completing most of the commitment, the SMG, together with citizens, successfully identified and analyzed relevant issues. For instance, they decided on one particular urban problem: improvement of bicycle routes to reduce the amount of accidents. With the analysis of the bicycle routes data, the SMG was able to pull relevant statistics to determine which routs are most often used, which report the highest accident rates and which areas needs more amenities. Based on this, the SMG plans to further create measures to address the traffic-related accident rates. For example, to start, the government installed amenities on sites that were frequently visited by more cyclists. However, due to the short implementing period, no major changes in accident statistics have yet been recorded.
By the end of the implementation period, the commitment was still at the data analysis stage and awaits further deliberation on policy-making. A number of projects were currently under way including the improvement of children’s meal plan card, analyzing data of a non-profit organization ‘Beautiful Store’ in order to spread donation culture, analyzing comparative data between the amount of fine particle air pollution and traffic, and analyzing the effect of parks in the city on local economy, among others.
Moreover, it is important to highlight that the process to select and analyze data was criticized by a few participating CSOs. A civil society member participating in the sub-group for milestone #1 pointed out that while some parts of the milestones were completed, he felt that the implementation of these activities did not fulfil his expectations, considering that the government did not allow for actual collaboration in decision making. Because of this dissatisfaction, other sub-group members decided to no longer attend the consultative group meetings. This member was contacted for comments as he was the only member in the sub-group #1 that participated in the latest consultative group meeting on 23 October 2017. Additionally, in a survey responded by ten consultative group members, two other members of sub-group #1 also raised a communication issue with the government and gave a negative review that their ideas and suggestions were not reflected in the project. One person said that there is almost no communication on how much progress was being made and it was hard to set forth his views when the consultative group meeting took place occasionally. The two of them did not participate in the latest and fifth consultative group meeting on 23 October 2017.
Therefore, the IRM researcher considers that this commitment represented a positive step forward in improving access to information and civic participation, considering that some progress was made to offer better information from some of the subgroups created for data analysis. However, it is limited in scale, considering that the system to facilitate data collection, storage and analysis was not achieved and that civil society engagement has still seen major challenges to actually integrate CSO in policy making.
1. Improve the cooperation and communication with civil society.
Out of four commitments, this commitment received the most unfavorable feedback from the civil society in terms of the cooperation and communication. A number of civil society members mentioned that the low participation in the sub-group is due to the government’s unproportionate influence compared to that of civil society’s. Based on this feedback, SMG could adapt a bottom-up approach and better attend to the opinions from civil society as an equal partner by formalizing the process and providing clarity in the roles of each member of the subgroups. The government should consider carrying this commitment forward and collaborate with CSO to create the policy guidlenes and the system to collect, store and analyze data.
2. Improve commitment text to ensure clarity of purpose.
The SMG could better articulate the specific outcome the commitment wishes to fulfill. Activities could be avoid ambiguities to specifically explain what is the result the commitment aims to achieve and what are the steps to meet that objective.
SEO0005, 2018, Access to Information
SEO0006, 2018, Access to Information
Smart Cities Youth Start Ups
SEO0007, 2018, E-Government
Analyze Data to Resolve Urban Problems in Seoul Through Cooperative Governance with Civil Society
SEO0001, 2017, Access to Information
Strengthen the Accountability of the Seoul Metropolitan Government by Sharing Public Information with Its Citizens in a Timely and Swift Manner.
SEO0002, 2017, E-Government
Promote Crowdsourcing Map-Making by Facilitating the Environment for Citizens to Make Their Own Urban-Life Maps.
SEO0003, 2017, Capacity Building
Provide More Transparent Meeting Information and Minutes.
SEO0004, 2017, Capacity Building