By Data-Smart City Solutions • May 4, 2018

Each week we will bring you a summary of what happened this week on our site, on Twitter, and in the wider world of civic data. Suggest stories on Twitter with #ThisWeekInData.

The San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development unveiled a digital inclusion program that will provide two public housing developments with free high-speed Internet, WiFi, and digital literacy classes. The announcement comes after a three month pilot program, during which residents at the two public housing sites, amounting to 313 units, received these services free of charge. Powered by the city’s Department of Technology, the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, the Office of Economic Workforce Development, the City’s Committee on Information Technology, and the City Administrator’s Office of Digital Equity, this program is part of San Francisco’s broader initiative to “minimize the digital divide,” providing the connectivity and skills necessary to ensure no San Franciscans get left behind in the digital age.

GovTech reported the first full-fledged utilization of FirstNet, a communications network for first responders. The Boston and Brookline Police Departments used the network during April’s Boston Marathon to maintain public safety, talking, texting, and delivering photos as the event progressed. Directly after the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, jammed cell networks prevented officers from communicating efficiently. FirstNet is designed for large events, during which other systems may get overloaded or interrupted by raised local call volume. The Marathon represented a successful test of the new network, inspiring optimism for its future among emergency response teams.

Cision profiled Toronto’s new Open Data Portal, which grants the public user-friendly access to a wide variety of government data. Co-created with residents, the portal allows for easy navigation, tools to help interpret information, and a section that highlights public work capitalizing on open data, among other features.

On Governing, Stephen Goldsmith and Jane Wiseman outlined important steps for public officials to take toward an efficient, data-driven local or state government, gleaned from their work with the Civic Analytics Network. They recommend the use of open data to maximize access to information, as well as data-sharing platforms and enterprise-wide tools that encourage inter-departmental exchange and collaboration. They suggest that governments partner with universities and private groups to foster data literacy, experiment with user-oriented tactics and nudges, and visualize data to encourage civic engagement. While undertaking these analytics-driven measures, officials must maintain a commitment to privacy, transparency, and security.

Here on Data-Smart, we published a resource for implementing user-centered government. From marketing initiatives to crafting better policy, prioritizing user experience steers government away from bureaucratic design and centers digital projects around their core audience: citizens. The piece provides links to essential readings, design toolkits, and training webinars to help get you started on your next user-oriented model, which will be useful in ensuring both efficiency and fairness in public service.

Governing and Living Cities announced the 2018 Equipt to Innovate Cities Class of 2018. Equipt to Innovate highlights cities around the country that are innovating in crucial areas for the public good. Cities are evaluated on the extent to which they are resident-involved, race-informed, smartly resourced, employee engaged, data-driven, dynamically planned, and broadly partnered. Top performing cities regarding each key element appear in the new report.

GovEx is accepting applications to data-oriented online trainings through the Johns Hopkins Center for Government Excellence until May 25th. The three courses offered are: Community Engagement: Tools and Techniques for Making Meaningful Connections, Getting Started with Performance Analytics, and Foundations of Applied Analytics in Government.