At NLC, we hear you loud and clear. For city leaders, using data matters more than ever. You could even say we have the data to back it up: According to this year’s State of the Cities report, a fast-growing set of city leaders are focusing on government data and technology in their state of the city speeches.
In broad terms, municipal data practices encompass everything from sharing public data online and increasing transparency to improving efficiency in assessing critical information and delivering services – all of which leads to better outcomes for residents. Already, mayors are implementing systems to monitor which roads have been plowed during snow events and to coordinate traffic signals that change dynamically as traffic increases or decreases.
And that’s just today. In the near future, cities will likely use data and technology to count votes in real time and develop sustainable microgrids for energy transfer. They will also need it to prepare for the emergence of new technologies, such as the growth in driverless vehicles.
In short, data and technology are everything in 2018, and fundamental to how cities keep readying themselves to tackle the challenges of the future. That’s why we’ve partnered with Results for America – a lead partner of What Works Cities, a Bloomberg Philanthropies-launched initiative – to offer a first-of-its-kind workshop series on foundational data practices through NLC University.
The partnership will include programming at the 2018 City Summit in Los Angeles, other events throughout the year, and the 2019 Congressional City Conference in Washington, DC. NLC University will offer five courses to help cities build their skills in leading data and evidence practices and to advance in the What Works Cities Certification program.
We’re proud to work with Results for America because they deliver results. Not only have they helped shift billions of dollars in federal funds toward evidence-based solutions and assisted states in advancing data-driven strategies through their Invest in What Works State Standard of Excellence, but they are also working with over 105 cities and counties to implement the tools they need to remain successful.
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Meanwhile, What Works Cities works on the premise that cities are moving the nation forward (a philosophy very near and dear to our hearts), and that data and facts will help them to continue moving in the right direction. Launched by Bloomberg Philanthropies in 2015, What Works Cities is one of the largest-ever philanthropic efforts to enhance cities’ use of data and evidence.
What Works Cities Certification is the first-of-its-kind national standard of excellence in city governance that evaluates how well cities are managed and whether cities have the right people, processes, and policies in place to put data and evidence at the center of decision-making. Nine cities have been recognized as leaders in this field and awarded Certification.
Ultimately, although the tools will be new to many municipal leaders, the concepts of these courses are the same as always. We’re going to support students as they continue adopting the best practices and policies, and finding the right people to implement them, to ensure that their communities continue to be high-performing and that the residents they serve have access to the best-possible services.
Sound data governance and evidence-based approaches have the potential to drive better outcomes and improve the lives of millions. We, and our partners, are committed to helping you adapt and thrive.
About the Author: Laura Cofsky is the communications specialist for NLC’s Center for City Solutions.