Support Us

You are browsing the archive for user-defined index.

Launching YourTopia Italia: Progress in Italy, defined by You

- May 10, 2012 in Announcements, Open Economics, Yourtopia

YourTopia logo How do we measure social progress? Academics and international institutions have struggled with employing measures of human development which go beyond GDP per capita: education, health the the economy, but then what values do we attach to these?

In countries like Italy stark regional differences have dominated over time. Particularly in times of fiscal austerity when the country attempts to recover from an economic crisis with major social consequences, seeing how and why the South and the North differ is an important step in a consensus-building process to find solutions and realise collaboration with the citizens.


The Open Economics Working Group of the Open Knowledge Foundation released YourTopia Italia – an application which gives the users a chance to input their priorities in eight categories of socio-economic progress:

  • Labour Market
  • Education
  • Health
  • Environment and Energy
  • Science and Research
  • Household Income and Inequality
  • Public Safety
  • Social Life

Each category is comprised of sub-indicators e.g. Neighbourhood Safety, Income Inequality, Problems with Air Quality or Friends Networks. While the Northern regions fare rather well in most indicators, which are highly correlated with income per capita, Social Life seems to be better in the Italian South, where more people get married, fewer people separate and more people meet friends in their free time.


YourTopia Italia gives a chance to the user to adjust weights of their personal priorities and see how the map changes when some indicators are excluded altogether. A timeline visualisation also gives the perspective of how Italian regions have developed over time.


All YourTopias can be saved and shared through social media.

So, join our efforts: go to and define the YourTopia that reflects your vision of social progress!

The application was created with a dataset assembled from istat, and the source code of the application is released under an open license. This project is a result of a team work effort and follows up on ideas initiated during the Open Economics Hackday in January this year.

Open Economics Hack Day Saturday January 28th 2012

- January 19, 2012 in Events, Hackathon

**This post is by [Velichka Dimitrova](, Coordinator for the [Economics Working Group]( at the Open Knowledge Foundation.**

On Saturday 28th January we’re getting together for an Open Economics Hackday where we’ll be be wrangling data and building apps related to economics — all are welcome!

* When: Saturday 28th January, 11am GMT (12pm CET/6am EST) to ~7pm GMT (8pm CET/3pm EST)
* Sign up on the MeetUp page.
* Some people will also be around on Friday 27th (same times)
* Where: Online (IRC, Skype) and also in person in London – meet us at the public space coffee area in the main hall on floor G of the Barbican.
* Who: Anyone! Coder, data wrangler, economists, illustrator or writer …
* And here is the Etherpad.

As with all hackdays, exactly what gets work on gets decided on the day (you can add suggestions to the etherpad). However, one particular idea, which we could become a submission to Apps4Italy, is set out below.

### One Idea for What We’ll Work On: ProgressVote

One of the most fundamental questions in economic research is: how do we measure social progress? Policy makers have come up with alternative measures accounting for environmental impacts, inequality, happiness and other indicators of human development.

However, the multiplicity of factors has caused another problem – how do we decide on the importance of each individual factor in a composite index? They could be either equally important (such as in the HDI) or they could be given different weights.

In our last project [YourTopia][yourtopia] – which was one of the winners of last year’s World Bank [Apps4Development Prize][apps-prize] – we offered one possible solution by letting *you* decide on which dimensions and aspects of economic development to prioritize.

However there are limitations to such an approach: faced with a myriad of technical indicators people are often overwhelmed by the complexity: Does life expectancy at birth matter more than the inflation rate or the M2 money supply? And what does M2 money supply even mean?


In [ProgressVote][progressvote], we’d like to improve on YourTopia in a variety of ways:

First, by combining proxy voting with the crowd-based Yourtopia approach: Instead of voting for indicators, people vote for expert statements that interpret the dashboard of variables. By doing so, it is hoped to strike a balance between expert judgements and the interpretation of the general public: Experts may be more able to interpret technical data, but in the end it is the citizens who decide which expert statement to endorse.

Second, we’d like to add support time series — so you can see how progress (or lack of it) has evolved over time — as well as better geo support — for example, so it is possible to look at regions as well as countries have performed (consider Italy for instance).


Interested? Then come join us on Saturday 28th January!

DataParty – Measures of Social Progress in Italy

- January 17, 2012 in Data Party, Yourtopia

Data parties are becoming a tradition in our activities: there are so far 30 datasets in our Economics Data Group on the DataHub and we would like to see this number grow with your help. If you have a dataset lying around, which you would like to share, please come to a data party and we can show you how to put it in the Datahub – it’s easy and fast and this way you could support the work of fellow researchers and students around the world.

The next data party will take place this Wednesday, January 18 at 5-6pm GMT / 6-7pm CET / 12-1pm EST. On the data party etherpad, add your skype id and I will be able to add you to the conference. All the data we can gather in the Google Spreadsheet.

This week’s topic is “Measures of social progress in Italy”, which is a preliminary meeting for our January 27-28 Apps4Italy Hackathon. Italy as one of the countries hit hardest by the 2008 economic crisis, has one of the highest levels of public debt – 118% of GDP. But how does Italy compare with the rest of Europe on income, social inclusion and living conditions? How do people value social progress and what are its dimensions?

Help us gather disaggregated data on these measures this Wednesday during our data party and learn more about Italy.

Ci vediamo!

Third Place in World Bank Contest

- April 27, 2011 in Announcements, Yourtopia

A few months back, we launched a simple app that allows anyone to say what kind of world, what “YourTopia”, they would like to live in. Created with the help of the new OKF Working Group Group on Economics, we submitted the app to the World Bank Apps4Development competition: Two days ago, the World Bank President Zoellick finally announced the winners of the competition and we are delighted to say that Yourtopia has been awarded the 3rd prize at the World Bank Apps4Development competition, chosen among over 100 other submissions.

(Photo: © Frank Vincent / World Bank)

As an OKF project, the award ceremony also gave us the opportunity to promote open data initiatives. Dirk Heine, who represented our team at the ceremony in the World Bank HQ in DC, was also able to present Yourtopia to a wider audience of stakeholders (including Robert Zoellick, Justin Lin and other IFI officials). Overall, there was great interest in Yourtopia: The idea of an open indicator for human development appealed to many people, ranging from reporters to researchers and policymakers.

Encouraged by the positive feedback, we are planning to build on the momentum and move forward with Yourtopia. We are also volunteering the prize money for future projects. Again, we would like to encourage anyone interested to join or suggest new ideas. If you are interested, please sign up for the OKF Open Economics mailing list or just send a mail to guo.xu[at] okfn [dot] org.