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Using Innovation and Technology to Improve City Services

July 3, 2015 Comments off

Using Innovation and Technology to Improve City Services
Source: IBM Center for the Business of Government

In this report, Professor Greenberg examines a dozen cities across the United States that have award-winning reputations for using innovation and technology to improve the services they provide to their residents. She explores a variety of success factors associated with effective service delivery at the local level, including:

  • The policies, platforms, and applications that cities use for different purposes, such as public engagement, streamlining the issuance of permits, and emergency response
  • How cities can successfully partner with third parties, such as nonprofits, foundations, universities, and private businesses to improve service delivery using technology
  • The types of business cases that can be presented to mayors and city councils to support various changes proposed by innovators in city government

Professor Greenberg identifies a series of trends that drive cities to undertake innovations, such as the increased use of mobile devices by residents. Based on cities’ responses to these trends, she offers a set of findings and specific actions that city officials can act upon to create innovation agendas for their communities. Her report also presents case studies for each of the dozen cities in her review. These cases provide a real-world context, which will allow interested leaders in other cities to see how their own communities might approach similar innovation initiatives.

Creativity, Clusters and the Competitive Advantage of Cities

June 26, 2015 Comments off

Creativity, Clusters and the Competitive Advantage of Cities
Source: Martin Prosperity Institute

Among the many important contributions made by Michael Porter in The Competitive Advantage of Nations was to call attention to the central role played by industrial clusters in the process of economic development (Porter, 1990a). He was not the first to identify the economic advantages of clustering of firms and industries, what economists refer to as “agglomeration economies.” Here he followed in the great tradition of Alfred Marshall (Marshall, 1890) and later Jane Jacobs (Jacobs, 1961). But what made his work so influential was how he identified these clusters empirically and was able to specify their role in economic development in a way that captured the attention not just of other economists and academics but also of policy makers in the real world.

Trees Grow on Money: Urban Tree Canopy Cover and Environmental Justice

June 25, 2015 Comments off

Trees Grow on Money: Urban Tree Canopy Cover and Environmental Justice
Source: PLoS ONE

This study examines the distributional equity of urban tree canopy (UTC) cover for Baltimore, MD, Los Angeles, CA, New York, NY, Philadelphia, PA, Raleigh, NC, Sacramento, CA, and Washington, D.C. using high spatial resolution land cover data and census data. Data are analyzed at the Census Block Group levels using Spearman’s correlation, ordinary least squares regression (OLS), and a spatial autoregressive model (SAR). Across all cities there is a strong positive correlation between UTC cover and median household income. Negative correlations between race and UTC cover exist in bivariate models for some cities, but they are generally not observed using multivariate regressions that include additional variables on income, education, and housing age. SAR models result in higher r-square values compared to the OLS models across all cities, suggesting that spatial autocorrelation is an important feature of our data. Similarities among cities can be found based on shared characteristics of climate, race/ethnicity, and size. Our findings suggest that a suite of variables, including income, contribute to the distribution of UTC cover. These findings can help target simultaneous strategies for UTC goals and environmental justice concerns.

Zeroing In on Place and Race

June 17, 2015 Comments off

Zeroing In on Place and Race
Source: Social Science Research Council

Zeroing In on Place and Race is an in-depth look at how disconnected youth are faring in America’s cities, with data included on disconnected youth by state, congressional district, county, gender, and by race and ethnicity. Disconnected youth are teenagers and young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither working nor in school. There are 5,527,000 disconnected youth in America today, or one in seven young adults (13.8 percent)—about as many people as live in Minnesota. The national disconnected youth population is larger than the populations of thirty US states.

The hottest 15 metros for advanced industries

June 10, 2015 Comments off

The hottest 15 metros for advanced industries
Source: Brookings Institution

America’s advanced industries—characterized by their deep engagement with research and development (R&D) and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workers—drive regional and national prosperity, as we observed in a recent Brookings paradigm report.

And yet, while advanced industries do this everywhere, how they do it in one metro area can be quite different from how they do it in another.

In some places local clusters push the frontiers of advanced manufacturing. In others they focus on energy or information technology. The strongest locations do it all. So, to see some of the ways in which local regions participate in the advanced economy, we here tour the 15 densest advanced industries hubs (in terms of employment share) in the United States.

American Driving Survey: Methodology and Year One Results, May 2013 – May 2014

May 22, 2015 Comments off

American Driving Survey: Methodology and Year One Results, May 2013 – May 2014
Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety/Urban Institute

On behalf of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the Urban Institute conducts a continuous survey to measure the driving behavior of the American public. The American Driving Survey is a national survey of persons 16 and over who drive of light vehicles (autos, SUVs, trucks) and reside in households with landline telephone service and/or cellular telephones. The survey commenced in May 2013 and is ongoing. The results of the first year’s data collection are presented in this report.

Gen Y and Housing: What They Want and Where They Want It

May 19, 2015 Comments off

Gen Y and Housing: What They Want and Where They Want It
Source: Urban Land Institute

Contrary to popular belief, most Millennials are not living the high life in the downtowns of large cities, but rather are living in less centrally located but more affordable neighborhoods, making ends meet with jobs for which many feel overqualified, and living with parents or roommates to save money, according to a new report from ULI. Still, despite their current lifestyle constraints, most are optimistic about the odds for improving their housing and financial circumstances in the years ahead.

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