Nov 14, 2019
The Center for Digital Government uses the Digital Cities Survey to recognize cities that are finding creative ways to solve government problems with technology, pushing the envelope of what is possible in the public sector. The City and County of Denver received 4th this year.
Continuing to absorb major population increases without equivalent growth to its funding, the City and County of Denver turns to technology to help realize needed efficiencies in several areas. Coming into this year’s survey with a strong foundation in place, Denver demonstrates that it’s in tune with city priorities, applying technology to realize progress. Investments in affordable housing are complemented by a custom-built app that transparently reports housing availability and progress toward stated goals. Challenges around short-term rentals prompted a first-of-its-kind registration system to help address community concerns. More than 200 services are now available online, with recent additions including more permitting options that save staff time and drastically cut wait time for citizens. Automation efforts within the 311 system have also caused response times to plummet, from more than 100 seconds to less than 30. In yet another example of using tech to be as efficient as possible, Denver is auditing all of its websites, adding translation services, improving accessibility and enhancing content. One success story is the Denver Animal Shelter (denvergov.org/animalshelter), whose site went from 694 to 83 pages.
Denver’s privacy and data work continues, following an executive order last year. Eight policies have since been developed, and an Information Governance Committee was created. A newly hired chief data officer supported by an eight-member data team is working to spread ethical data practices across the city and develop a data warehouse as a central repository that can also support transparency goals. Smart city work will also get a boost from a recent RFP for “smart city program management,” which brought more than 200 responses. All solutions are open source, supporting the city’s goal to make sure its good work can be replicated elsewhere.
Courtesy of Govtech.com, Digital Cities 2019: Winners Gear Up for a New Decade November, 14 2019.