Pittsburgh: Built on Public-Private Partnerships

In 1994 when Tom Murphy became Mayor of Pittsburgh the city had been in decline for 50 years.  He looked at his assets:  300,000 residents (half of what it had been), thousands of acres of empty or underutilized land, a significantly below average cost of living index, Carnegie Mellon University, an entrepreneurial culture, a tradition… Read More

Elon Musk and the Boring Company

UPDATE (7/12/17): Elon Musk makes transportation news again.  (Note:  We don’t count Tesla under transportation.   It is a demonstration of battery power for the future.)  The Hyperloop lets us imagine true long distance rapid transit, moving sci fi to reality, letting us speed across the planet’s surface. According to a June 27 article by Nick Statt,… Read More

Procurement: Boston Story

Laura Melle, on the City of Boston Office of Technology team, was assigned to support the evolving departmental procurement process, provided the background information for this story.  The Office of Technology “inbeds” data oriented staff in key line departments to build support for and overcome the challenges to bringing these departments into “smart cities” status.… Read More

Procurement: Town of Arlington MA Story

Arlington is a “town” in the New England parlance of local government.   It has a Board of Selectmen instead of a city council and its chief legislative body, Town Meeting meets several days each spring,   to address major town issues, warrants and to pass the town budget.  The Town meeting opens each season with… Read More

Procurement: Kansas City MO Story

Kathy Garman and Cedric Rowan, KCMO employees working with procurement issues (11/15), provided most of the information and insights into new ways Kansas City is acquiring technology to enable it to develop into a leading 21st century smart city. City policy in Kansas City MO is very sensitive to the “digital divide” issue.    The city… Read More

Procurement: Philadelphia PA Story

Nick Susi, provided the background information for this story.  Nick previously worked in the Philadelphia Office of Information and Technology (OIT) and now works in the Procurement Dept., bringing with him to procurement a greater than usual appreciation for the complexities of buying 21st century ICT and digitally enhanced hardware and infrastructure using the traditional… Read More

Procurement: City’s Pre-Procurement Pathway

(Part of a series of articles prepared by Barbara Thornton for the Smart Cities Council.  The articles are intended to provide an overview to city, private, nonprofit and community based stakeholders who hope to move city operations into the 21st century but run into 19th and early 20th century procurement processes.  These are the processes… Read More

Plan It and They Will Build

Urban planners can take a page from the “Field of Dreams” movie’s playbook.  In the movie, Kevin Costner built a baseball diamond in a cornfield and his dreams came true.  Planners around the world are finding that this technique can work for reshaping cities, too. In the old days of “master planning” lots of night… Read More

Oregon Mayor Speaks on Trump, Cities, Climate Change

(from article by Carey L. Biron) WASHINGTON — Donald Drumpf’s surprise victory in the U. S. presidential election this week scrambled domestic and international calculations, with particularly notable questions looming about the potential impact on global action around climate change. The news broke just as the international community is gathering to discuss global warming for the… Read More

Planning for Open Space in an Urbanizing World

Cities around the world are exploding with new inhabitants and newly built structures.  The world population is growing at about 750 million people per decade.  That is the equivalent of adding 88 new New York Citys in 10 years.  By far the fastest growth, 80% of the growth, is happening on the edges of current… Read More

Sachs Defines Essential Infrastructure “Long Game”

Jeffrey Sachs recommends:  Rather than trying to deploy construction workers within the next 60 days, I propose that we envision the kind of built environment we want for the next 60 years. With a shared vision of America’s infrastructure goals, actually designing and building the new transport, energy, communications, and water systems will surely require… Read More

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

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