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Top US digital cities announced

Los Angeles, Virginia Beach, Cape Coral, Lynchburg and Tamarac are among the cities honoured in five population classifications 

Virginia Beach introduced 10 strategic goals  supported by IT
Virginia Beach introduced 10 strategic goals supported by IT

The Centre for Digital Government (CDG) has named the winners of its 2017 Digital Cities Survey.


Now in its 17th year, the annual survey recognises cities using technology to improve citizen services, solve social challenges, enhance transparency and inclusion as well as encourage citizen engagement.


“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 Centre 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 honours cities in five population classifications: 500,000 or more, 250,000 to 499,999; 125,000 to 249,999; 75,000 to 124,999 and fewer than 75,000.


This year first place winners include:


Los Angeles, California: Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council are bringing data analytics to bear on some of the city’s most difficult challenges. The city issued IT directives that address security, transparency, resiliency, equity, public safety, workforce restoration and homelessness. The city’s IT agency leads efforts around digital inclusion, including deploying wi-fi and distributing devices to enable people in the largest homeless encampment to access the Internet.

Los Angeles is also expanding its open data initiative with the release of new data sets, a data science partnership with 12 local universities and a new department of data and predictive analytics.


Virginia Beach, Virginia: Virginia Beach’s city council introduced 10 strategic goals supported by IT. The city also established a regional broadband taskforce, formed a regional CIO’s meeting, commissioned a re-engineering study for regional connectivity and is providing free wireless to K-12 schools. In addition, the city developed two web-based apps to support its Open VA portal and transparency efforts -- “balancing act” and “taxpayer receipt” -- that allow residents to directly engage in the budget process.


Cape Coral, Florida: The city aligned its IT efforts to support the city strategic plan. For example, to support economic development/redevelopment, it negotiated an interlocal agreement with the county Department of Transportation to share and expand its fibre conduit, designed a smart cities system as part of an overall streetscape revamp, created a GIS layer to identify upcoming capital projects, and increased and marketed building permits online, driving adoption up 23 per cent.


Lynchburg, Virginia: The city added an interactive portal, “my city services,” to its open data portal and used citizen engagement efforts and GIS to support the city’s “poverty to progress” initiative. The GIS team is partnering with the Vancouver extension service to map areas that lack nearby grocery stores to help non-profits and churches provide food assistance to those in need.


Tamarac, Florida: The city operates a modern municipal technology environment that includes open government, data and transparency, engagement efforts, collaboration with other jurisdictions for services and consultancy, and detailed security measures. It runs recruitment and retention programmes for IT which pay for technical training including the cost of certification exams. The city also supplements tuition for employees pursuing college degrees.


The Centre for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute focused on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. CDG is a division of e.Republic, the nation’s only media and research company focused exclusively on state and local government and education.


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