By Data-Smart City Solutions • June 28, 2019

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.

NEW YORK TIMES: CAN ‘BIG DATA’ HELP FIGHT BIG FIRES? FIREFIGHTERS ARE BETTING ON IT

The Los Angeles Fire Department has been testing a program developed by WiFire Labs that makes quick predictions about where fires will spread based on real-time information about topography, weather conditions, flammable materials and other variables from on-the-ground sensors and government datasets. Officials say this predictive technology can make sophisticated calculations in minutes, which otherwise would take hours, allowing fire departments to make decisions quickly.

STATE TECH: HOW WASHINGTON, D.C., BOOSTS RESILIENCE THROUGH DATA

Selected in 2016 by the Rockefeller Foundation to become part of the 100 Resilient Cities program, Washington, D.C.’s Deputy Chief Resiliency Officer Harrison Newton discusses the need for cross-departmental coordination and connectivity in this article. To highlight the city’s plans, Newton cited a “world-class integrated dynamic flood model” otherwise known as geospatial computer projection employing multiple data inputs from D.C.’s three bodies of water as an example of their holistic approach to resiliency.

STATE SCOOP: CODE FOR AMERICA ANNOUNCES LATEST GROUP OF COMMUNITY FELLOWS

This week, Code for America announced the 17 fellows who will be paired with seven U.S. cities (Buffalo, NY; Durham, NC; Indianapolis; Miami; Santa Monica, CA; and Savannah, GA) to develop software solutions to tackle the cities’ most pressing issues. The portfolio of projects includes accessible housing data portals, resource tools for formerly incarcerated people, and an app for residents to sign up for an affordable water program. 

GOV INSIDER: HOW POLLUTION DATA PRESSURED CHINA TO CLEAN UP ITS ACT

The Institute of Public and Environment Affairs (IPE), a Chinese NGO which began in 2006 as an effort to publish government data on factory pollution online in response to a lack of enforcement of pollution standards, has used online maps and crowdsourced data to put pressure on local governments and factories to address environmental pollution. The NGO has mapped more than 1.4 million violations and convinced almost 2,000 factories in the country to change their polluting practices. 

CITYLAB: A BIG MASTER PLAN FOR GOOGLE’S GROWING SMART CITY

Sidewalk Labs, the smart-city startup from Google parent company Alphabet, released its plan to turn Toronto’s Lake Ontario shoreline into an innovative, smart district, according to its chief executive Dan Doctoroff. The plan includes several mixed-used buildings up to 30 stories tall, a $1.2 billion light rail extension, and snow-melting heated pavement to keep streets clear for pedestrians, cyclists and self-driving “delivery dollies.” The district is planning to be “climate positive” with no carbon footprint and all aspects will be heavily connected to collect data about energy consumption, building use, and traffic patterns, among other urban fluctuations, which a software platform would analyze and manage. However, the project is not without controversy as local residents are hesitant about becoming guinea pigs in this project.

GOVTECH: NEW YORK LEGISLATURE STRENGTHENS DATA BREACH POLICIES

A new bill, the Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security Act (SHIELD Act), strengthens New York State’s approach to data breaches by providing consumers and residents with more transparency and establishing harsher penalties on companies that incur cybersecurity breaches. The bill, which expands the legal definition of what counts as data and what counts as a breach, now heads to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office where it is expected to be signed into law.