MetroLab Announces New Initiative on Data Governance

MetroLab Network
3 min readSep 19, 2022

Washington, DC: Today, MetroLab launches its first task force under the new “In the Lab” program — the Data Governance Initiative.

In collaboration with lead co-facilitators from the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) and the University of Missouri — Kansas City (UMKC), the Task Force is a coalition of public officials, city and county staff members, and researchers from diverse disciplines and jurisdictions across the United States working to create multi-faceted data governance policy and practice tools that will inform, guide, and facilitate responsible data governance by cities and counties across America.

Based on the Draft Model Data Handling Policy guide which originated at the University of Missouri — Kansas City (UMKC), the primary objective of this Task Force will be to formalize the work that members of the MetroLab community have already invested in this effort. Currently, the task force involves representatives from 14 cities or counties, 2 metropolitan planning organizations (MPO), and 5 universities, totaling over 40 individuals.

The goals of this task force are to:

  1. Formally establish the MetroLab Network Data Governance (MNDG) Community of Practice, a collaborative group of subject matter experts with substantial expertise in one or more of the key elements of city or county data governance.
  2. Have the MNDG Community of Practice members study and share information and practice tools they have assembled to co-produce and co-publish a Model Data Governance Policy and Practice Guide for Cities and Counties with the following six components: 2a. Definitions and Core Principles, 2b. Standardization of Data Classifications and Data Integrity Measures, 2c. The “Operationalizing How” (of departmental organization/connectedness, centralization vs. decentralization of various functions, including procurement, oversight mechanisms regarding data and data analytics), 2d. Data Privacy and Protection, 2e. Data Use Rights and Data Sharing, and 2f. Needs and Methods for Community Engagement.
  3. Convene dialogues on emerging data governance issues and challenges faced by cities and counties.
  4. Serve as a potential model for other MetroLab Task Forces that seek to adopt a community of practice approach.

Members of the Task Force include:

  • Josh Schacht, MetroLab Network (program lead)
  • Tony Luppino, UMKC (co-facilitator)
  • Miles Light, Future of Privacy Forum (co-facilitator)

MetroLab Network’s “In the Lab” is a program that features our policy work and thought leadership. This program will include several task forces that will result in policy best practices or model templates. MetroLab will staff and host convenings, resulting in publications. The MetroLab Network “In the Lab” Task Force is poised to provide cutting edge solutions to common data governance challenges and to evaluate best practices for data governance, policy, and practice in American cities and counties. It therefore marks a watershed moment in data governance for cities and counties in the United States. The institution of this Task Force roundly reflects MetroLab Network’s unwavering commitment to enabling “responsible and transparent applications of data and technology in government.”

To learn more about MetroLab Network’s “In the Lab” task force, visit the program website. For questions and to explore partnership opportunities, send an email to

Please note: this opportunity to participate is available to any city, county, metropolitan planning organization, university or college. MetroLab membership is not a requirement, and never will be.



MetroLab Network

35+ city-university pairs bringing data, analytics & innovation to city gov’t thru research, development & deployment. Launched at #WHSmartCities 2015