We were proud, and quite surprised, to see that the Databook was named one of 2021’s “Top Websites for Urban Planning” by Planetizen, a popular publication in the field of urban planning that’s been around for over 20 years.
Choice quotes below.
WeGovNYC, a civic technology initiative led by the nonprofit Sarapis, is hosting a pair of projects that harness the power of the Internet to provide oversight of government planning and spending. Together, the Capital Project Directory and City Agency Database provide transparency on the activities of the government in ways the city is either unwilling or incapable of doing.
WeGov, a civic technology initiative, examined available capital project data dating back to 2019 but including projects as far back as 2001, to present an easier picture of the city’s infrastructure landscape, and the results are damning. It examined 5,263 projects with an original estimated total cost of nearly $77 billion, but that has grown to $148.5 billion. Of the total projects, 2,624 are running past their projected timelines and 2,990 are over budget; 997 are starting late and 2,946 are ending late.
It explains the project clearly.
The portal maps out the location of specific capital projects, outlines each project’s budget, the source of their funding, and how spending on projects has changed with different iterations of the budget over the years. It is part of a larger data-driven initiative that also analyzes agency-specific data including everything from headcount to expense budgets to City Council discretionary funding.
And quotes Devin directly about the project’s goals.
“The point of this is to help mobilize the public to take a bigger interest in capital projects, to document capital projects, put pressure on the government to release better data about capital projects, to make it evident to the people who actually produce these projects and to OMB, who kind of oversees this, that the public’s watching,” he added.
The story’s author got quotes from the the powerful Mayor’s Office for Management and Budget, a spokesperson said the agency and city are constantly improving the process and releasing more data.
It ends with a quote from Devin.
Balkind hopes that his data project will help the public understand where their taxes are directed and to push the administration to improve its delivery of projects and services. “We’re off the charts in terms of inefficiency and we pay for that all the time,” Balkind said, “and capital projects are a very obvious way we pay for that.”