Los Angeles’ open data platform, Virginia Beach’s flood defence work and Coral Gables’ utilisation of Lean Six Sigma processes are among the projects which have put the cities at the top of the 2018 Digital Cities Survey in the US.


The annual survey recognises cities that have leveraged data to enhance city services and to tackle social challenges, enhance cyber-security and improve transparency. It is in its 18th year and is conducted by the Centre for Digital Government (CDG).


The survey acknowledges 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.


Leading the nation


“This year’s Digital Cities Survey winners are leading the nation when it comes to leveraging data to improve a wide range of city services and initiatives,” said Teri Takai, executive director of the Centre for Digital Government. “Thanks to the efforts of these innovative cities, citizens now benefit from enhanced services as well as improved transparency and privacy protection efforts.”


This year’s first place category winners include:


  • Los Angeles, California: provides a huge range of digital services to city residents. The city’s open data platform has 1,100 datasets, with 100 per cent of departments contributing. At the same time, excellent cyber-security strategies help protect citizen privacy. The city also leverages emerging tech such as chatbots, automated assistants and social media platforms to better assist citizens. The city’s ‘clean streets’ initiative, a programme of the collaborative comprehensive homeless strategy, is powered by data from the 311 call centre and mobile app, and responses are managed and services dispatched through the customer relationship management system.


  • Virginia Beach, Virginia: integrated smart city priorities with its council ‘s 10 strategic goals, installed 12 Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to mitigate the impact of sea-level rise and flooding and to support disaster preparedness and recovery, and appointed a chief data officer who improved the open data and transparency site with meaningful data and visualisations.


  • Bellevue, Washington: city is a founding member and provides leadership for the 30-organisation non-profit eCityGov and provides services such as recruiting, permitting and mapping; project management; help desk and application hosting services. Bellevue’s revised website and improved services resulted in a rating of good/excellent by 84 per cent of users.


  • Westminster, Colorado: city completed more than 25 significant technology projects in the past 12 months, providing support for city council goals. The city also fully adopted the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cybersecurity framework, which demonstrates city leaders’ commitment to security.


  • Coral Gables, Florida: exemplifies the data-driven characteristic of a digital city with its business intelligence portals and dashboards; transparency and open data portals; smart city projects with IoT sensors and platforms; and utilisation of Lean Six Sigma processes.


The top-10 ranked cities will be honoured at an awards dinner during the National League of Cities’ annual conference in Los Angeles, California, on 8 November 2018.