By Data-Smart City Solutions • September 18, 2020

NEXT CITY: ADOPT A “DIGITAL BUILDING CODE” TO PERMANENTLY DECREASE THE DIGITAL DIVIDE 

Digital inclusion is a serious issue that has only become more important during the pandemic lockdowns. Many jobs and schools are remote, which places a strain on people without reliable internet and/or computer access. One way to address this, especially among low-income renters, is to require that all government-funded housing be wired with high speed internet according to a standardized “digital building code.” 

FEDERAL COMPUTER WEEK: REAL-WORLD DATA MANAGEMENT 

Data teams are in high demand during the pandemic, as governments pivot toward digital services and remote work. In this article, a group of data specialists and information technology leaders from all levels of government discuss how to implement effective data strategies, adjust to changing priorities, and ensure data privacy. 

WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM: HOW CAN WE MAKE CITIES MORE SUSTAINABLE? 

Wildfires, extreme storms, and rising floodwaters are causing major problems across the United States and the world. Many cities are retrofitting or developing new projects to increase sustainability and mitigate major climate disasters. Some ideas include vertical forests, “sponge cities,” mini urban forests, and cleaner commutes. 

REUTERS: US HOUSING DATA HAILED AS NEW TOOL TO TARGET COVID-19 AID 

A new data-driven report compiled county-level eviction and mortgage foreclosure data to create the National Housing Loss Index, which will help identify where COVID-19 related housing loss could be most acute. According to researchers, the worst-hit areas will likely be non-white communities with a high percentage of renters, where many residents lack health insurance to help cover medical costs. Governments can use this tool to inform housing policy, emergency health services, and rent relief programs. 

STATE SCOOP: SAN ANTONIO LOOKS TO ELIMINATE BIAS WITHIN 'SMART CITY' PLANNING 

 Biased algorithms and human prejudice can distort data that cities use for decision making, which results in inequitable services and representation. In San Antonio, city leaders are committed to creating an equitable smart city, by investigating the biases that were discovered in their public health and broadband coverage survey data. The city’s budget, program allocation, and expenditures are based on this data, so city leaders are rooting out the issues in the data and data collection that were distorting the real needs of the communities. 

NATIONAL COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT COALITION: REDLINING AND NEIGHBORHOOD HEALTH

A new study has proven a link between historically redlined neighborhoods and a higher risk of COVID-19. Many people of color that experienced redlining and housing discrimination were forced to move into areas with limited resources, poor air and water quality, and higher concentrations of poverty. These were issues before the pandemic, but are especially dangerous right now, as they have led to major risk factors and diseases that are COVID-19 co-morbidities. This report offers ways to address and mitigate these problems.