Community capacity is used to monitor socio-economic development. It is composed of a number of dimensions, which can be measured to understand the possible issues in the implementation of a policy or the outcome of a project targeting a community. Measuring community capacity dimensions is usually expensive and time consuming, requiring locally organised surveys. Therefore, we investigate a technique to estimate them by applying the Random Forests algorithm on secondary open government data. Our research focuses on the prediction of measures for two dimensions: sense of community and participation. The most important variables for this prediction were determined. The variables included in the datasets used to train the predictive models complied with two criteria: nationwide availability; sufficiently fine-grained geographic breakdown, i.e. neighbourhood level. The models explained 77% of the sense of community measures and 63% of participation. Due to the low geographic detail of the outcome measures available, further research is required to apply the predictive models to a neighbourhood level. The variables that were found to be more determinant for prediction were only partially in agreement with the factors that, according to the social science literature consulted, are the most influential for sense of community and participation. This finding should be further investigated from a social science perspective, in order to be understood in depth.
Additional Metadata
ACM Database Applications (acm H.2.8), Models (acm I.5.1)
MSC Social and behavioral sciences: general topics (msc 91Cxx), Models of societies, social and urban evolution (msc 91D10)
THEME Information (theme 2)
Publisher CWI
Series Information Access [IA]
Citation
Piscopo, A, Siebes, R, & Hardman, L. (2014). Predicting sense of community and participation by applying machine learning to open government data. Information Access [IA]. CWI.