August 17, 2015
Representatives from 12 cities convene to accelerate the use of data analytics in city operations across the U.S.
New York, NY – New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) teamed up with the National League of Cities to host the Data Analytics and City Services Summit. Held August 6-7 in New York City, this first-of-its-kind event brought together thought leaders with chief data officers and performance management staff from 12 cities across the nation to accelerate city data analytics efforts and develop methods to improve decision-making and operational efficiency.
“Twelve cities came together to share ideas, best practices and lessons learnt on using data and analytics to improve cities,” said Tom Schenk, chief data officer for the City of Chicago. “When we share these ideas, we can be sure to implement the best ideas at the lowest cost. It is important that the nascent chief data officers, directors of analytics, performance managers and others who are leading the charge for data-driven decisions come together as a community.”
Through a hands-on data analytics workshop and a series of roundtable discussions, participants identified common data-related functions, goals and challenges. Participants then showcased various data approaches and strategies to improve city services and civic engagement.
“Our belief is that a well articulated data strategy that can be applied in multiple cities will accelerate the adoption of effective applications of data analytics,” said Steven Koonin, the founding director of NYU CUSP. “We know that urban science is still very much a nascent field, and we are engaging cities most committed to harnessing data and learning together.”
The attendees also worked with urban informatics students from NYU CUSP to apply new analytical techniques to existing datasets to understand challenges and develop new solutions to deliver city services. Participating cities provided raw data sets prior to the summit, along with information on how the data was collected.
“Local governments are embracing data and technology to solve their most difficult problems and ensure competitive and equitable cities,” said National League of Cities CEO Clarence E. Anthony. “We are proud to support the critical work in cities to apply the innovative solutions that are solving ongoing challenges in local government.”
The summit was lead by renowned experts in the field of urban science, including Steven Goldsmith, Director of the Innovations in American Government Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Sir Peter Elias, Deputy Chair of the Administrative Data Research Board of the UK Statistics Authority, and Stacey Warady Gillett, leader of the What Works Cities initiative at Bloomberg Philanthropies. Participating cities included Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Kansas City, Mo., Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and San Francisco.
NYU CUSP and NLC also conducted a survey of participating cities on their data practices and barriers. The survey found that outdated systems and infrastructure, as well as a lack of resources, were most commonly cited as barriers to leveraging data to improve services and efficiency.
The two-day summit was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, one of the nation’s largest independent foundations, committed to fostering the development of knowledge, strengthening institutions and improving public policy.
About New York University’s Center for Urban Science & Progress
CUSP is a university-wide center whose research and education programs are focused on urban informatics. Using NYC as its lab, and building from its home in the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, it integrates and applies NYU strengths in the natural, data, and social sciences to understand and improve cities throughout the world. CUSP offers a one-year MS degree in Applied Urban Science & Informatics. For more news and information on CUSP, please visit https://cusp.nyu.edu. Follow NYU CUSP on Twitter @NYU_CUSP.
About the National League of Cities
The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans. www.nlc.org.
Kim Alfred, CUSP
Tom Martin, National League of Cities
Elizabeth Latino, The Marino Organization