The Center for Digital Government (CDG) announced the 2017 Digital Cities Survey Winners. The Digital Cities Survey, now in its 17th year, seeks to recognize cities that are using technology to improve the citizen experience, increase government transparency, and encourage citizen engagement with the government.
“This year’s leading digital cities are leveraging technology to connect disadvantaged citizens with critical information and services, promote citizen inclusion in important government processes and share government data with the public,” said Teri Takai, executive director of the Center for Digital Government. “Thanks to the efforts of these innovative cities, citizens can now meaningfully interact with city government more easily than in any other time in history.”
The survey breaks cities into five categories based on population data. The top 10 cities are recognized by the CDG for each population category.
In the 500,000 or more population category, Los Angeles came in first thanks to the work of Mayor Eric Garcetti. Along with the city council, Mayor Garcetti is using data analytics to solve some of the city’s most challenging problems. Los Angeles issued IT directives that targeted security, transparency, resiliency, equity, public safety, workforce restoration, and homelessness concerns. The city’s Information Technology Agency (ITA) also led digital inclusion efforts, including deploying public WiFi around the city. The ITA also distributed devices to the city’s largest homeless encampment to enable Internet access.
Virginia Beach, Va. came in first for the 250,000–499,999 population category. Virginia Beach topped the list thanks to initiatives started by the City Council, including establishing a regional broadband task force, forming a regional CIOs meeting, commissioning a re-engineering study for regional connectivity, and providing free wireless to K-12 schools. In the hopes of improving transparency, the city also released two new web apps that allow citizens to directly engage with the government’s budgeting process.
The third category recognized cities with a population between 125,000 and 249,999. Cape Coral, Fla. won first place due to its efforts to align IT initiatives with the city’s Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan included supporting economic development and redevelopment, to support that through IT, the city negotiated an interlocal agreement with the county Department of Transportation to share and expand their fiber conduit. The city also designed a Smart Cities system as part of an overall streetscape renovation.
Lynchburg, Va. was the winner for the 75,000–124,999 population category. The city expanded its existing open data portal with a new interactive portal, “My City Services.” The city also capitalized on citizen engagement efforts and GIS to support its “Poverty to Progress” initiative. The city’s GIS team is partnering with Virginia Cooperative Extension service to map food deserts, or areas that lack grocery stores, to assist non-profits that provide food assistance to disadvantaged residents.
The survey’s last category was for cities with a population up to 75,000, and Tamarac, Fla. topped the list. Though its a small city, Tamarac operates a modern municipal technology environment with initiatives that include open government data and transparency, citizen engagement efforts, collaboration with other jurisdictions for services and consultancy, and detailed security measures.