An economic data dashboard for Knaresborough

Opening up local economic data

Open Innovations was approached by Knaresborough Connectors, working with Knaresborough Chamber of Trade and Commerce, to help them better understand their local economy as they prepare to undergo a change of local government in their area with creation of a single North Yorkshire unitary authority in 2023 and the arrival of a directly-elected mayor in 2024.

They had got in touch with us on the back of our announcement of the creation of the Northern Economic Data User Group which aims to bring together like-minded researchers, analysts and economists alongside the public sector, business and civil society to create a forum where common questions can be worked on collaboratively, and we can build a common research and data infrastructure to support the economy of north England and beyond.

Supporting locally-driven economic development

We heard from them of their need to better understand what happens in Knaresborough and its wider districts, and to help them surface data that explains the local economy better at a granular level. This is so that they can start to work on a plan for economic regeneration, working closely with the residents and businesses of the area to help fulfil the community's common aims for a thriving local economy and present a firm evidence base to the new authorities as they take over.

In our typical Open Innovations way, we have worked with them in the open to build a quick proof-of-concept tool that allows them to interrogate a range of official data sources at a small (MSOA) geographic level. This puts the data and the ability to interrogate it directly into the hands of those who know the area best. We've included GVA, employment, business counts, household incomes, housing stock, house prices and population so far, but will be coming back to add some benefits and welfare statistics and as well as some bespoke data, too.

Building a data dashboard

A screenshot of the Knaresborough Economic Dashboard showing changes in house prices in four small areas of the town over time
Knaresborough Economic Dashboard
Credit: Open Innovations, Christian Spence

What happens next?
We'll continue working with the teams over at Knaresborough Connectors and the Chamber of Commerce to add further data and analytical tools to the app over the coming weeks, as well as exploring how this could be a stepping-stone for other towns across North Yorkshire to help them understand their local economies better, too.

You can play with the tool yourself here: make sure to tell us what you like about it, and what's missing, so we can keep improving! We'll add a technical blog post to this soon, so check back here for some updates over the coming weeks. If you've any questions, drop me an email or find me on Twitter.