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Pittsburgh Mayor Details City’s 'Inclusive Innovation' Road Map

His plan will support equitable access to technology, city resources and information by closing the digital divide and opening communication between the government and its constituents.

by Robert Zullo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette / September 9, 2015
(David Kidd)

(MCT) -- Flanked by city government officials, tech business representatives and nonprofit and higher-education leaders in a packed room at the Carnegie Library in East Liberty Tuesday afternoon, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto laid out his administration’s “Roadmap for Inclusive Innovation,” described as a strategic plan to “support equitable access to technology, city resources and information.”

The plan will be spearheaded by the city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority and the Department of Innovation and Performance, formerly City Information Systems before it was rechristened by Peduto in his first months in office.

“To be truly successful, Pittsburgh’s technology boom has to be accessible for all,” Peduto said. “This plan will enable us to be a model for cities around the country in providing equitable services and opportunities for residents and businesses in every neighborhood.”

The goals of the road map, which encompasses 100 projects and city initiatives, include:

  • Bridging the digital divide, including the 13 percent of households in the city without computers by expanding access in senior centers and other public areas.
  • Enhancing communication between the city and its residents through social media and other means.
  • Providing more open city data that can be used by governments, civic groups and others.
  • Making the city’s internal operations more efficient, such as the effort by the city’s Code for America fellows to open up the city’s procurement process via digital alerts that go out when contracts and requests for proposals are ready.
  • Promoting sustainable and clean technology via benchmarks for air, water and energy use.
  • Increasing governmental cooperation with small business and entrepreneurs.
  • “It means to me that nobody’s left out,” Peduto said. “You either design a city … that puts inclusivity into the DNA or you end up with an economy that’s exclusive.”

Debra Lam, Peduto’s chief Innovation and Performance officer, said the plan was the result of extensive review of best practices in cities around the world and called it a “living document that will continue to evolve over time.”

City officials said the plan doesn’t come with a dedicated budget, but described it as more of a comprehensive approach that will affect virtually every area in which city government interacts with residents, business and community groups.

©2015 the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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