Inspired by International Open Data Day, we talk to Steve Spiker, IT director for the Urban Strategies Council in Oakland, California, to talk about open data’s role in taking on urban poverty.

Steve explains that the cost of government data can be a major factor in how effective non-profit groups can be in taking on pernicious urban issues like foreclosures and crime, and that low-cost data can spur new businesses and community benefits in urban regions such as Oakland and Alameda County. Open data is “far more impacting than we actually thought,” he says.

Steve organized and hosted the Open Data Day Bay Area event, and on Gov 2.0 Radio he shares about a new app developed during the day of hacking that helps find fee-free credit union ATMs in the SF Bay Area, 99atms.com. Steve stresses that there is a need to link existing advocacy communities to the open data and Gov 2.0 movements to increase their impact.

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