Map of Recent Urbanization Change in Europe

This new map was created by Germany’s BBSR, the country’s Federal Institute for Research onBuilding, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development.  It is the first ever to collect data published by all of Europe’s municipalities. The BBSR collected data between 2001 and 2011. While that might sound slightly outdated, these are actually the most up-to-date figures Europe has… Read More

San Jose’s City Vision: Smartest City in US by 2020

According to Toronto Mayor John Tory, “more than half of the USA’s famous Unicorn companies (companies valued at over $1Billion) have been created by immigrants.”  At a recent City Age conference in San Francisco, Tory described his effort to replicate that success by mixing immigrants in Canada and a strong urban corridor that explicitly supported… Read More

Tax Payer Money Helps Citizen Engagement Software Evolve Faster

If Boss Tweed could see us now!  City living isn’t what it used to be thanks to new software in cities that is built to inform, engage and satisfy citizens. An explosion of new software for use by cities and by citizens will, where the software is used, eventually improve the efficiency of services and… Read More

Flint Not Alone In “Municipal Trifecta of Doom”

Flint Michigan’s water problem will be repeated around the country.  Race may be an issue.  Low income residents are definitely an issue.  But the cause is the “municipal trifecta of doom”:  aging infrastructure, declining revenue base and higher costs for municipal bonds. “About two thirds of all infrastructure in the United States is financed by… Read More

Most City Officials Believe In But Don’t Understand Transformational Concept of ‘SMART CITY’

More than 90 percent of recently surveyed government and municipal respondents said they view smart city initiatives as transformational with the potential for long-term positive impacts on cities globally. Yet, more than half of respondents say their organization does not really understand the smart city concept. What makes a smart city, how are they planned,… Read More

Europe Moves Forward On Software Platform Idea To Make Cities Smart

Asset Stewardship has long advocated a basic “platform” approach for municipalities entering the digital age.  A platform or framework approach allows data to be gathered across departments to do predictive analysis for the city’s needs and to work more effectively on behalf of the citizens shared by multiple city departments.  According to a recent article… Read More

Needed: An “Academy Awards” for Cities

America needs a National Urban Policy Summit. Kevyn Orr is an inspiring fellow.  And, as the Emergency Manager for the City of Detroit, overseeing the city’s bankruptcy process, he knows a thing or two about cities.  In a recent forum at Harvard University, he suggested the country is way overdue for a close look at what… Read More

Data Privacy, Cybersecurity: What Do People Want From Government?

 “The data collected, saved, utilized, and disseminated from  public institutions is an essential part of government’s backbone. But at the same time, the government must be good stewards of the data. It’s  government’s job to secure constituents’ data.” (from an article by Mariah Bastin, GovLoop,  November 12, 2015) “But with great data collection comes even greater responsibility.… Read More

2015 Digital Cities: Winners Experiment with Forward-Thinking Tech Projects

 “The 2015 Digital Cities Survey results are in. Dozens of cities were selected by a judging panel at the Center for Digital Government as the most strategic, efficient and innovative guardians of public-sector tech in the nation. The top-ranked cities will received an award in recognition of their achievements on Nov. 5 at the annual National… Read More

Creating a Facilities Maintenance Department: Arlington Case Study

In Spring 2015, Arlington’s legislative body voted to approve the establishment of a new department to oversee Facilities Maintenance.  Ruth Bennett, Architect, was hired in August, 2015 to head the new department.  The process of establishing the department was the result of recommendations from the Capital Planning Committee to the Board of Selectman who established… Read More

Antiquated Procurement Process Blocks Cities from Digital Age

From the perspective of a city trying to move operations into the digital age, software often seems overpriced, inflexible, and more complicated than flying a jet, with no clear measurable return on investment either in cost savings or improved service delivery.  From the perspective of the software provider who is big enough and smart enough… Read More

Drinking Water Infrastructure Choice: Infrastructure and Policy vs Mad Max

Hundreds of millions of people around the world depend on polluted water sources for their daily drinking water.  Over half of the planet’s population lives in cities.  Large cities, alone, represent   $21.8 trillion (US$) in economic activity, or 48 percent of global GDP *.   As the population in cities continues to grow, without… Read More

Infrastructure: John Oliver Explains it All (HBO)

So you don’t think infrastructure can be fun? Watch comedian John Oliver explain its intricate, critically important, hilarious fascinations in this video! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wpzvaqypav8 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Infrastructure (HBO) Infrastructure investment will save lives.   Also, from:  CEO FORUM GROUP: “Infrastructure refers to the large-scale public systems, services, and facilities of a country… Read More

Global City Challenge 2016 Registration

Initial teambuilding workshops for the next round of the Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC) will take place November 12-13, 2015, at NIST’s Gaithersburg, Md., campus. Registration for the workshop is open. Please use this link to register:http://www.nist.gov/cps/global-cities-team-challenge-2015.cfm. An agenda and additional materials related to the November teambuilding workshop are forthcoming. The U.S. Department of Commerce’s… Read More

White House Announces $160MM “Smart Cities” Initiative

The Obama administration, in conjunction with the Smart Cities Council Annual Meeting, on Sept. 14, announced $160mm in federal research, grants and collaborations to help local communities manage major challenges using 21st century tools. As part of the initiative, the Administration is announcing: More than $35 million in new grants and over $10 million in proposed… Read More

Open Data Standards Affect City Spending Decisions

City decision makers should consider the new federal “open data” standards before building their own digital infrastructure. The DATA Act 2014  requires the Department of the Treasury and the White House Office of Management and Budget to transform U.S.federal spending from disconnected, hard to find documents into open, standardized data, and to publish that data online.… Read More

Fate of Boston’s Failed 2024 Olympics Bid – Determined in 1822

Boston is no longer in the running for the 2024 Summer Olympics.  While the City convulses in streams of joy and sorry, the question “what went wrong” emerges.  The answer to that question may go back to 1822 when the city was incorporated, over 200 years before the Olympics would have happened.  Or maybe the… Read More

Infrastructure Problem: One of Many Assets Needing Attention

In 2011 the USA rated a grade of D+ on Infrastructure from the American Society of Civil Engineers, citing a need for a $3.6 TRILLION investment by 2020.  Despite one of America’s favorite comedians,  John Oliver, using comedy to call attention to this infrastructure problem on national television, not much is changing.  Nor is the… Read More

Olympics 2024 – Proxy for a Real Boston Master Plan Process

Don’t pick the fruit until it’s ripe.  That was one of the more profound lessons learned from my favorite Capital Finance professor.  The people of Boston, contemplating a decision about whether or not the city should host the Olympics in 2024 would be wise to take this lesson to heart. The City of Boston, with… Read More