Editor's note: The Digital Communities Special Report, which appears twice a year in Government Technology magazine, offers in-depth coverage for local government leaders and technology professionals.

It is part of the Digital Communities program, a network of public- and private-sector IT professionals working to improve local governments’ delivery of public service through the use of technology.

The program — a partnership between Government Technology and e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government — consists of task forces that meet online and in person to exchange information on important issues facing local government leaders and technologists.

With urban areas continuing to grow at a substantial rate — from 30 percent of the world’s population in 1930 to a projected 66 percent by 2050, according to the United Nations — getting the urban experience right has become paramount. To help understand the building blocks to a successful digital city, The Digital Communities Special Report looks at five key technologies — broadband, open data, GIS, CRM and analytics — and provides a window into how they are helping city governments cope with economic, educational and societal demands.

The good news is that these essential technologies are getting cheaper, faster and better all the time. But technologies like these still cost money, need talent to run them and are dependent on the right policies if they are going to succeed. In other words, digital cities need smart thinking in order to work. Part one of this series examines the importance of broadband as a critical infrastructure and the challenges cities face in reaching universal adoption.

Part 1 | Broadband: 21st Century Infrastructure
Part 2 | Open Data & APIs: Collecting and Consuming What Cities Produce
Part 3 | GIS: An Established Technology Finds New Purpose
Part 4 | Customer Relationship Management: Diversity in Service
Part 5 | Analytics: Making Sense of City Data