Cutting edge technology, rapid innovation and integrated data are revolutionizing the way governments serve their constituents. Smart city projects are at the forefront, finding more efficient, effective, and secure ways to design and deliver services.

Recently, at the Smart Cities Connect 2023 Conference in Denver, industry experts, thought leaders, and government officials from around the globe met to explore the latest innovations and trends in building smart, sustainable cities. As part of the conference, Metopio, along with a select group of other innovators, was honored with the prestigious Smart 50 Award which recognizes transformative smart projects every year.

Here are three key themes from came from the engaging presentations and hallway conversations at the conference:

Collaborative Data Governance Models

Transparent and collaborative data governance models are essential for successful smart city implementation. It also provides a specific path for collaboration, reduces duplication, and removes barriers to help grow and scale these initiatives effectively. Christine Kendrick, Smart City PDX Coordinator, shared insights from the City of Portland including an admonition “not to underestimate the time and culture shift that is necessary to create an effective data pipeline” that can be leveraged across projects. She highlighted how they structured data collection to track record the impact of investments from their portion of the $1.3 billion American Rescue and Protection Act (ARPA) and measure progress toward equity outcomes.

Data-Driven Decision Making

Data forms the backbone of smart cities. Experts at the conference stressed the significance of data collection, governance, analysis, and utilization to optimize city operations and enhance service delivery.  Jodie Brinkerhoff, Vice President of Innovation for Dallas Fort-Worth (DFW) Airport, pointed out that we are “data rich and insight poor.” For example, she said we can want data-driven decision making but are still challenged to get people to think about data across organizations and to provide it in a way that they can access it for themselves.” At Metopio, we know this to be true. The Chicago Health Atlas, powered by Metopio, empowered the city to foster innovation, engage the community and positively impact health outcomes.

Citizen-Centric Approach

Placing citizens at the heart of smart city initiatives is crucial for equitable progress. Don Jacobson, Enterprise Project Manager for the City of Las Vegas, reminded attendees that “the future is here, it is just not evenly distributed.” Involving citizens in the decision-making process, leveraging their knowledge and feedback, and designing solutions that cater to their needs is essential to moving forward equitably. Several sessions explored citizen engagement platforms, participatory budgeting, effective data sharing and inclusive smart city initiatives to ensure that technology-driven developments reach all segments of society.

The discussions at the conference underscored the need to bring together thought leaders and practitioners in both the public and private sector to share proofs of concept, talk about how to fail forward and celebrate successes. There is another opportunity to join the conversation and share your initiatives that address pressing urban challenges and build resilient, healthy and equitable communities. Smart Cities Connect now has a call for panelists at their November 27 – 30 meeting in Washington DC.

Data is the foundation of successful smart city efforts. Metopio is here to support your efforts in building tomorrow’s cities and fostering innovation starting with data, please visit Metopio or contact today.