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December 2, 2013

Clean Sweeps in the Rust Belt: Buffalo, NY Uses Big Data to Improve Neighborhoods

I’d like to bring your attention to a recent article from CIO magazine that gives a great example of how big data can be used effectively. In Buffalo, NY, city departments are working together as part of the Operation Clean Sweep program to improve the most challenged neighborhoods. Using data gathered from 911 calls, population density maps, and more, they are able to pinpoint areas most in need and then allocate and prioritize people and resources to these neighborhoods. Operation Clean Sweep performs tasks like removing litter and debris, sealing vacant houses, providing employment and health care services, and setting up neighborhood watch programs.

The key takeaway from this article is that working collaboratively and using resources efficiently – despite economic hardship – really can make a difference in a community and in improving population health.

David A. Ross, ScD

President/CEO of the Task Force for Global Health, former director of PHII