About the Author

Stephen Goldsmith is the Daniel Paul Professor of the Practice of Government and the Director of the Innovations in American Government Program at Harvards Kennedy School of Government. He currently directs Data-Smart City Solutions, a project to highlight local government efforts to use new technologies that connect breakthroughs in the use of big data analytics with community input to reshape the relationship between government and citizen. He previously served as Deputy Mayor of New York and Mayor of Indianapolis, where he earned a reputation as one of the countrys leaders in public-private partnerships, competition, and privatization. Stephen was also the chief domestic policy advisor to the George W. Bush campaign in 2000, the Chair of the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the district attorney for Marion County, Indiana from 1979 to 1990. He has written The Power of Social InnovationGoverning by Network: the New Shape of the Public SectorPutting Faith in Neighborhoods: Making Cities Work through Grassroots CitizenshipThe Twenty-First Century City: Resurrecting Urban AmericaThe Responsive City: Engaging Communities Through Data-Smart Governance; and, most recently, A New City O/S: The Power of Open, Collaborative, and Distributed Governance.

About the Book

The Responsive City is a guide to civic engagement and governance in the digital age that will help leaders link important breakthroughs in technology and data analytics with age-old lessons of small-group community input to create more agile, competitive, and economically resilient cities. Featuring vivid case studies highlighting the work of pioneers in New York, Boston, Chicago and more, the book provides a compelling model for the future of governance. The book will help mayors, chief technology officers, city administrators, agency directors, civic groups and nonprofit leaders break out of current paradigms to collectively address civic problems.

The Responsive City is the culmination of research originating from the Data-Smart City Solutions initiative, an ongoing project at Harvard Kennedy School working to catalyze adoption of data projects on the city level. The book is co-authored by Professor Stephen Goldsmith, director of Data-Smart City Solutions at Harvard Kennedy School, and Professor Susan Crawford, co-director of Harvard's Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg penned the book’s foreword.

Based on the authors’ experiences and extensive research, The Responsive City explores topics including:

  • Building trust in the public sector and fostering a sustained,collective voice among communities;
  • Using data-smart governance to preempt and predict problems while improving quality of life;
  • Creating efficiencies and saving taxpayer money with digital tools; and
  • Spearheading these new approaches to government with innovative leadership.

“In these pages, Goldsmith and Crawford expertly chronicle the now-global movement to improve governance through technology. Chicago embraced that movement early to become the leader in effectively leveraging data to meet the demand for a more responsive city.” — Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago

“Focusing on outcomes for (and with) the public instead of compliance with rigid procedures is the hard work of local government in the twenty-first century. Goldsmith and Crawford show the way with real-world examples and an infectious optimism. This book matters to everyone who cares not just about city hall but about trust and faith in government in the modern era.” — Jennifer Pahlka, founder and executive director, Code for America; former U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer

“As citizens demand more responsive services and revenues continue to shrink, cities have no choice but to innovate. In his brilliant career as mayor of Indianapolis, Steve Goldsmith did just that. Today he is known as one of the leading experts in governance. The Responsive City breaks new ground and sets new standards for excellence in government.” — Ed Rendell, former Governor of Pennsylvania

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Steven Goldsmith:

Hello. My name is Steve Goldsmith. I'm the professor of the practice of government at Harvard's Kennedy School, where I direct the Innovations in American Government program. It's a really interesting period of time for cities around the world, including in the US, as the demand for services exceed the resources as issues of equity are increasingly important, but this is perhaps the chance of a century to dramatically change the way our cities work, to make them more responsive to the citizens in their communities and make their delivery of services more effective.

We run at the Ash Center at Harvard's Kennedy School the Data Smart City Solutions Project funded by MacArthur and Bloomberg Foundations. And from that project, we have developed a book called The Responsive City. It's a story of technology. It's a story of people. It's a story of leadership. So if we look at where we are today, the technology tools that are available can make us much more effective, right? They can help cities as in New York figure out which buildings they're going to burn down next. They can help states like Indiana determine which children who are in need of services are most in danger or what providers are most constructively effective with those children. They can help cities like Chicago determine how to deliver their services more effectively, where they're going to have problems in traffic or crime or even rodents. And in this book, we tell those stories. We tell the stories of Chicago and New York and Boston, a city that's been much more available and engaged with its citizens and how they respond to city services.

And the technology tools are in the book, but the two most important issues that blend with those technology tools and at the heart of our work for cities are the following. One, you need the leadership. Where does the leadership come from to break down the vertical barriers? Where does the leadership come from to tell the bureaucracies that they need to listen to the citizens? Where does the leadership come from that infuses these new technology tools with changes in the way government operates?

And that leads us to the last big change that's necessary. We've developed a bureaucracy, a governmental bureaucracy that is technically proficient, but very narrow in the way it operates. And today, the technology tools, the predictive analytics, the big data approaches, allow officials to be very different in the way they exercise their discretion and much more effective in the way they exercise their discretion. The tradeoffs we have between accountability and discretion we discuss in this book are not necessarily so sharp as they were before.

So kind of in summary, The Responsive City is from our Data Smart City Solutions Project at the Harvard Kennedy School. It's designed for civic leaders, good government groups, academics, public officials, to show them a new path where they can get much more return on tax dollars and a much higher quality of life for urban citizens by merging leadership responsiveness, new technology tools, and new approaches to governance. I look forward to you kind of looking at our website, Data Smart City Solutions, or take a look at the book, The Responsive City. Thank you very much.