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Today the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School announced the launch of Data-Smart City Solutions, a new initiative aimed at using big data and analytics to transform the way local government operates. Bringing together leading industry, academic, and government officials, the initiative will offer city leaders a national depository of cases and best practice examples where cities and private partners use analytics to solve city problems. Data-Smart City Solutions is funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
“Cities need and now can secure new technologies that will allow public employees to find and solve problems, often before they even occur,” said Stephen Goldsmith, Daniel Paul Professor of Government at Harvard Kennedy School and the Data-Smart Cities project director. “Big data, crowdsourcing, and other innovative technological solutions offer city officials a wealth of new resources for improving effectiveness, but the sheer volume of new tools available can be daunting. We have designed Data-Smart City Solutions to be a go-to resource as cities embrace all that technological innovation has to offer.”
Initiative In Detail
Data-Smart City Solutions highlights best practices, curates resources, and supports cities embarking on new data projects. The initiative’s website contains feature-length articles on how data drives innovation in different policy areas, profile pieces on municipal leaders at the forefront of implementing data analytics in their cities, and resources for interested officials to begin data projects in their own communities.
Recent articles include an assessment of Boston’s Adopt-a-Hydrant program as a potential harbinger of future city work promoting civic engagement and infrastructure maintenance, and a feature on how predictive technology is transforming police work. The site also spotlights municipal use of data such as San Francisco’s efforts to integrate data from different social service departments to better identify and serve at-risk youth. In addition to visiting the initiative’s website, Data-Smart City Solutions’ work is chronicled in their newsletter as well as on their Twitter page.
Data-Smart City Solutions is an initiative of the Ash Center’s Innovations in Government Program, which recognizes and promotes creative and effective problem solving by governments and citizens. Other initiatives of the Program include the Innovations in American Government Awards, which recognizes and promotes excellence and creativity in the public sector, and Better, Faster, Cheaper—an online resource dedicated to presenting smart ideas that deliver greater public value and lower the cost of government services.