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Leeds is the UK’s best city for open data.

 

Leeds is the UK’s best city for open data. Its portal Data Mill North has over 350 datasets from 40 publishers and has expended to neighbouring cities. From individual pub reviewers to real-time water quality reports from Yorkshire Water; Leeds does it.

Leeds is the UK’s best city for open data. It is home to ODILeeds, one of just two pioneer nodes of Tim Berners-Lee’s Open Data Institute. It is funded not from central government but from international businesses in the city in collaboration with local councils working together on extremely tight budgets. Tonight its digital festival, the UK’s version of #SXSW, brings digital artists from around the world to a pioneering algorithmic rave.

Leeds is the UK’s best city for open data. It hosts the NHS’s healthcare analysis at HSCIC, has a dedicated academic institute for data analytics (LIDA), and is home to the private company (BJSS) who fixed NHS data issues no-one else could.

Leeds is the UK’s best city for open data. Its politicians understand its population, its strengths, and its weaknesses like no other because they have shared their data and listened as knowledge is returned.

Leeds is the UK’s best city for open data. Its digital jobs fair and job listing on Leeds Herd convinced huge companies to locate and grow in the city. Unlike many others the city is dedicated to growing to accommodate the growth it has seeded without pricing out innovation.

Leeds is the UK’s best city for open data. It has given birth to Student Data Labs and the Leeds Innovation Pathway that spans the city from young to old. It's private-sector led digital apprenticeship scheme brings the earning-power of digital to areas of the city that have struggled for decades.

Leeds is the UK's best city for open data. This year it will host the Global Gov Jam, its mental health habitat work is world-leading, and its Urban Sustainable Development Lab has spread around the world as one of Nesta's 50NewRadicals. Leeds so often puts people at the centre of data-led and user-centred innovation.

Leeds is the UK’s best city for open data. Ripple OSI is leading on integrated healthcare, Dotforge and FutureLabs provides an experienced accelerator program for businesses using data in healthcare. Its City Talking newspaper spans North England with unique data-led journalism.

Leeds is the UK’s best city for open data. It knows that Sheffield will chose to focus on manufacturing and accepts that Liverpool and Manchester are its cultural and physical gateways to the world. It knows that all are extremely close neighbours, dedicated to working together.

Leeds is the UK’s best city for open data because it has done all of this with less than 1% of the central government funding that other cities have enjoyed.

 

Leeds has won at open data. In the past, the city has been denied the investment it needed. Proper funding for R&D never came. A mass transport network worthy of its size was cancelled. Today a devolution deal for the Leeds City Region is unacceptable to Whitehall because Leeds demands the right to raise taxes to fund its own growth.

With each of these denials the UK has told Leeds that it is important to back winners. That is true. Today Leeds has won at open data. It is now time for the UK government to back its winner.

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