Data Is Plural

... is a weekly newsletter of useful/curious datasets.

2023.04.19 edition

Municipal zoning rules, AI incidents, state bill trajectories, rare-earth mining projects, and “pirate radio” enforcement.

Municipal zoning rules. Matt Mleczko and Matthew Desmond, of Princeton’s Eviction Lab (DIP 2018.04.18), have developed a method for extracting structured information from the text of local zoning regulations. Their National Zoning and Land Use Database covers 2,600+ cities, towns, and other municipalities — a sample drawn from the Wharton Residential Land Use Regulatory Index’s prior, survey-based research. The database includes dozens of indicators, such as whether the rules specify annual limits on several types of permits, allow any accessory dwelling units, require various review-board approvals, impose parking space minimums, and more. These factors then feed into the authors’ Zoning Restrictiveness Index, which they calculate at a municipal and metro-area level.

AI incidents. The AI Incident Database “is dedicated to indexing the collective history of harms or near harms realized in the real world by the deployment of artificial intelligence systems.” The open-source project is “managed in a participatory manner,” with a board of directors, submissions from the public, and a team of reviewers guided by a set of definitions and decision criteria. So far, it has cataloged 500+ incidents and 2,500+ reports, which you can search and filter by entity, category, date, and other facets. You can also download full snapshots of the database. [h/t Sasha Anderson]

State bill trajectories. Political scientist Alex Garlick has published a dataset categorizing bills’ trajectories in state legislatures. It follows each proposed law’s journey along 23 possible steps, which range from “First Reading (first chamber)” to “Bill enacted.” The dataset spans more than 1 million bills tracked by OpenStates (DIP 2020.09.30), with full coverage for all 50 states for 2011–18 and partial coverage for some earlier and later years. Read more: “Bicameralism Hinges on Legislative Professionalism,” Garlick and Adam R. Brown’s recent paper (and preprint) using this data.

Rare-earth mining. Shuang-Liang Liu et al. have compiled a dataset of 146 mining projects targeting rare-earth elements, which serve as “critical raw materials in many low-carbon technologies.” The dataset lists each project’s name, company, location, status, deposit type, estimated tonnage of deposits, element composition, and other details sourced from “company annual reports and public presentations, government reports, and papers in various scientific journals.”

“Pirate radio” enforcement. The Federal Communications Commission publishes a dashboard and dataset of its “pirate radio” enforcement actions, part of the agency’s crackdown against the “unauthorized transmission of radio frequency signals on the frequencies in or adjacent to the FM and AM radio bands.” The 38 entries list the entity targeted, state/territory, radio frequency, enforcement type, date issued, and penalty amount. They go back to early 2020, when Congress passed the PIRATE Act. Related: Congressional acronym abuse, 1973-2013. [h/t Jon Keegan]