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Town of Oakville's Data Hub Success

The Town of Oakville’s population is set to double by 2050, and the Town wanted to modernize their process for gathering and analyzing housing data. They enlisted Esri Canada’s Planning and Housing Division to plan and develop a hub site which would host a series of dashboards, to tell the story of Oakville’s Planning and Housing success.

The Town of Oakville is telling its housing success stories through data.

Established in 1857, Oakville is a beautiful town located on Lake Ontario, and a 45-minute trip to Toronto. Like all cities across Canada, and particularly in the Greater Toronto Area, Oakville has been given a housing pledge, and planners are sharpening their focus to show how they’re doing against this pledge.

With projections of their population doubling by 2050, Oakville has pledged to approve 33,000 new housing units over the next decade. They are working hard to meet the housing needs of residents, both now and in the future.

The Town was receiving multiple inquiries about data from both internal and external stakeholders. Planners were spending a lot of time gathering and analyzing data to answer questions:

  • How much land could they start building on?
  • What is the timeline for properties to be developed?
  • What are the roadblocks the planning department is facing?
  • How many houses have started?

The Town wanted to modernize the process and reduce the amount of staff time and resources required to respond to these questions.

With a big provincial push for data transparency and accessibility, Oakville also needed to make sure that they were able to collaborate fully with different levels of government and align their data toward common goals.

The Town of Oakville enlisted Esri Canada to plan and develop a hub site which would host a series of dashboards, to tell the story of Oakville’s Planning and Housing success. Esri Canada’s Planning and Housing Division’s deep knowledge of planning and extensive experience working both within and for cities meant that they were able to understand the Town’s pain points and develop an accelerated work plan.

A screenshot of the landing page for the Oakville Data hub, with a picture of Oakville's harbourfront.

Esri Canada and the Town of Oakville brought together several municipal departments in a series of workshops to determine how best to tell their story through data. Esri Canada provided strategic facilitation and industry knowledge, making recommendations to the Town on how to proceed and how to present their information.

Several of the dashboards connect directly to Oakville’s existing permitting systems, meaning that data is up-to-date and stays in their system of record.

A screenshot showing a map, bar graphs, and metrics of active development applications for the Town of Oakville.

While the hub site and dashboards show Oakville’s successes, it’s important to not underestimate the amount of work done in terms of data-driven innovation and the Town of Oakville’s overall data management practices.

The results have been astounding. Phase 1 of the project resulted in the Oakville Data Hub which hosts a series of dashboards which tell the story of Oakville’s housing successes and aligns with their accountable government strategic plan pillar. Town staff, residents, all levels of government, and other stakeholders are able to understand how Oakville is tracking against their housing targets, and where projects are in the permitting stages. The data is consolidated, curated, and easy to understand. The source of the data is transparent and can be easily updated by non-technical staff.

A screenshot showing bar graphs of forecasted population growth, employment growth forecast, people and jobs forecast, and units growth forecast for the Town of Oakville

Residents, councillors, and government staff can all see not just what is being built now, but what will be built in the future. The dashboards integrate data and metrics with data visualizations and a narrative. They have insights into the steps and timing required for approving development applications, and everyone can see how the town is doing against their KPIs, their housing pledge, and their government strategic plan.

The Town of Oakville will continue to grow out their data hub and dashboards in the future, based on learnings and success of the initial project.

To learn more about Planning and Housing, visit our website.

About the Author

Katharine Stanbridge is Manager of Industry Engagement for Esri Canada's Planning and Housing Division. She strives to connect municipalities and housing builders with the tools they need to address the housing crisis. Katharine has a Bachelor of Arts in Classical Studies from Bishop's University, as well as an extensive background in communications. In her spare time, Katharine likes to cycle, bake and read.

Profile Photo of Katharine Stanbridge