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3 Resources for Improving Public Services

metro, traffic, train

A crowded Metro rail station.

ICMA Executive Director Bob O’Neill’s article “Public Services and the Wonders of the Third Week in August” gained a lot of attention from members and nonmembers alike early last month. O’Neill uses the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area as an example of a smart city with a number of viable modes of public transportation and highway routes. However, he also points out that one of the only times these modes work efficiently is during this “third week in August” because that’s when most commuters take their vacations, the tourist season is coming to an end, and Congress is out of session.

In short, metropolitan area transit works best when a chunk of the population isn’t even using it! O’Neill goes on to say that as urbanization increases, smartly managed communities—that is, ones that find the right balance of technology and governance—are imperative. O’Neill observes that an essential approach to achieving smart management is to engage residents with traditional as well as new technology tools and platforms.

If you’re looking to learn more about smart cities, urbanization, and smart solutions, the articles below may be helpful:

  1. Cities around the world addressing challenges of urbanization”is a CityLinks blog post that describes the four development principles of USAID’s new urban policy Sustainable Service Delivery in an Increasingly Urbanized World.
  2. The Knowledge Network article “Smart Communities and the Opportunities of ‘Big Data’”discusses the challenges that governments are facing as a result of urbanization and offers some solutions to these dilemmas.
  3. ICMA’s research analysis International Perspectives in Local Government Sustainability Initiatives: Leading Practices and Priorities of Local Governments Worldwide (page 4) reflects upon using technology to improve sustainability in smarter cities.

What is your community doing to become a smarter city? Share your experiences below.

Jordyn Moore

Knowledge Network Intern