Boston, Richmond, Pueblo, Castle Rock top list of 'digital cities'

Cities opting for the cutting edge instead of cutting services.

The past couple of years has not been easy on cities -- the economy has savaged their tax bases, forcing many to cut services and initiatives. Information technology offers new ways to reach out to and communicate with residents, but local governments need to be open to new, more digital possibilities.

In essence, as explained by my colleague Heather Clancy, cities need to evolve into "smart cities," employing new approaches such as intelligent sensors that keep tabs on things and place, business intelligence and analytics applications that can help slice, dice and make sense of the data, wireless networks and other mobile communications technologies, and alerts and workflow automation.

There are a number of cities and communities across the US that are embracing new innovative approaches through information technology, as detailed in e.Republic's Center for Digital Government and Digital Communities latest ranking of "digital cities."

The Digital Cities Survey is conducted in partnership with the National League of Cities annually in the summer. All US cities, towns, villages and consolidated city/county governments with populations of 30,000 or greater were invited to participate in this survey.  The survey recognizes municipalities that successfully incorporate information technology into operations to better serve constituents and businesses.

Recognized cities have continued to realize operational objectives despite financial challenges, strategically investing to maximize dollars and effectively conduct the business of government. "Economic conditions are bringing about a fundamental rethinking of local government structures and support strategies," according to Digital Communities Director Todd Sander.  "It is clear from the results that digital technology is a critical factor in helping organizations not only maintain, but actually improve service delivery when faced with fewer employees and smaller budgets."

The first-place winners in each of the four population classifications are as follows:

  • City of Boston, Mass. (250,000 or more population)
  • City of Richmond, Va. (125,000 - 249,999 population)
  • City of Pueblo, Colo. (75,000 - 124,999 population)
  • Town of Castle Rock, Colo. (30,000 - 74,999 population)

The full list of 2010 Digital Cities Survey winners is available here: www.digitalcommunities.com/survey/cities. Among the larger city category, Boston was followed by Louisville, Ky. (2), Aurora, Colo. (3), Charlotte, N.C. (4), Chicago, Ill. (5), and New York (6).

My only surprises: No cities in the Silicon Valley orbit, San Francisco and San Jose, in the top 10 list. Nor Seattle from the tech-savvy Redmond orbit. Berkeley did make number 10 in the smaller city list.

(Photo by the author.)

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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