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Digital Cities Survey 2017 — Winners Announced

Open to all U.S. cities, the survey questions focused on the Top 10 characteristics of a Digital City: Open, Mobile, Engaged, Collaborative, Secure, Staffed/Supported, Connected, Efficient, Resilient, and use of Innovation and Best Practices.

Digital Cities Winners Leverage Technology to Enhance Inclusion, Solve Social Challenges
Nov. 9, 2017 — The Center for Digital Government (CDG) announced the winners of the 2017 Digital Cities Survey. Now in its 17th year, the annual survey recognizes cities using technology to improve citizen services, enhance transparency and encourage citizen engagement.

“This year’s leading digital cities are leveraging technology to connect disadvantaged citizens with critical information and services, promote citizen inclusion in important government processes and share government data with the public,” said Teri Takai, executive director of the Center for Digital Government. “Thanks to the efforts of these innovative cities, citizens can now meaningfully interact with city government more easily than in any other time in history. Congratulations to the winners!”

The survey honors cities in five population classifications this year - see the complete list of winners below.

Here’s a look at this year’s first-place winners:

  • Los Angeles, Calif.: Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council are bringing data analytics to bear on some of the city’s most difficult challenges. The city issued IT directives that address security, transparency, resiliency, equity, public safety, workforce restoration and homelessness. The city’s IT agency leads efforts around digital inclusion, including deploying WiFi and distributing devices to enable people in the largest homeless encampment to access the Internet. L.A. is also expanding its open data initiative with the release of new data sets, a data science partnership with 12 local universities and a new department of data and predictive analytics.
  • Virginia Beach, Va.: Virginia Beach’s City Council introduced 10 strategic goals supported by IT. The city also established a regional broadband taskforce, formed a regional CIO’s meeting, commissioned a re-engineering study for regional connectivity and is providing free wireless to K-12 schools. In addition, the city developed two web-based apps to support its Open VA portal and transparency efforts -- “Balancing Act” and “Taxpayer Receipt” -- that allow residents to directly engage in the budget process. 
  • Cape Coral, Fla.: The city aligned its IT efforts to support the City Strategic Plan. For example, to support economic development/redevelopment, they negotiated an interlocal agreement with the county Department of Transportation to share and expand their fiber conduit, designed a Smart Cities system as part of an overall streetscape revamp, created a GIS layer to identify upcoming capital projects, and increased and marketed building permits online, driving adoption up 23 percent.
  • Lynchburg, Va.: The city added an interactive portal, “My City Services,” to their Open Data Portal and used citizen engagement efforts and GIS to support the city’s “Poverty to Progress” initiative. The GIS team is partnering with the Va. Extension Service to map areas that lack nearby grocery stores to help non-profits and churches provide food assistance to those in need.
  •  Tamarac, Fl.: The city operates a modern municipal technology environment that includes open government, data and transparency, engagement efforts, collaboration with other jurisdictions for services and consultancy, and detailed security measures. The city runs recruitment and retention programs for IT which pay for technical training including the cost of certification exams. The city also supplements tuition for employees pursuing college degrees. 

CDG thanks the underwriters of this year’s survey: Accela, CivicPlus, Dell EMC, ForeScout Technologies, Laserfiche, Microsoft, Net App/ Cisco, Nutanix, Pure Storage, SHI and Spectrum Enterprise.

Congratulations to the 2017 Digital Cities Survey Winners:

500,000 or more population category:
1st City of Los Angeles, CA
2nd City of Albuquerque, NM
3rd City of San Diego, CA
4th City of Charlotte, NC
4th City of Philadelphia, PA
5th City of Louisville, KY
6th City and County of Denver, CO
6th City of Seattle, WA
7th City of Boston, MA
7th City of Phoenix, AZ
8th City of Austin, TX
8th City of San Jose, CA
9th City of Tucson, AZ
10th City of El Paso, TX 

250,000 – 499,999 population category:
1st City of Virginia Beach, VA
2nd City of Durham, NC
3rd City of Greensboro, NC
4th City of Kansas City, MO
4th City of Sacramento, CA
5th City of Omaha, NE
5th City of Riverside, CA
6th City of Chandler, AZ
6th City of Long Beach, CA
7th City of Atlanta, GA
8th City of Mesa, AZ
9th City of Cincinnati, OH
10th City of Henderson, NV

125,000 – 249,999 population category:
1st City of Cape Coral, FL
2nd City of Winston-Salem, NC
3rd City of Norfolk, VA
4th City of Bellevue, WA
5th City of Baton Rouge, LA
6th City of Scottsdale, AZ
7th City of Modesto, CA
7th City of Tacoma, WA
8th City of Augusta, GA
9th City of Pasadena, CA
10th City of Alexandria, VA
10th City of Hampton, VA

75,000 – 124,999 population category:
1st City of Lynchburg, VA
2nd City of Boulder, CO
3rd City of Lee's Summit, MO
4th City of Independence, MO
4th City of Roanoke, VA
5th City of Sugar Land, TX
6th City of Pueblo, CO
6th City of Westminster, CO
7th City of Allen, TX
8th City of Columbia, MO
9th City of Brooklyn Park, MN
10th City of Bloomington, IN
10th City of San Leandro, CA 

Up to 75,000 population category:
1st City of Tamarac, FL
2nd Village of Pinehurst, NC
3rd Village of Schaumburg, IL
4th City of Punta Gorda, FL
5th City of Williamsburg, VA
6th City of DeSoto, TX
7th City of Ithaca, NY
7th Town of Marana, AZ
8th City of Palo Alto, CA
9th City of North Port. FL
10th City of Salem, VA

CLICK HERE for more information on the top-10 ranked winners that will be honored at a special awards ceremony during the National League of Cities’ annual conference in Charlotte on November 16th.


2017 Top ten technologies and initiatives which are likely to have an increased focus in the next year:

  1. Cybersecurity
  2. Citizen Engagement/ Experience
  3. Mobility/ Mobile Devices/ Applications
  4. Transparency/ Open Data/ Data Governance
  5. Disaster Recovery/ Continuity of Operations
  6. Hire and Retain Competent IT Personnel
  7. Networking: Broadband & Connectivity
  8. Budget/ Cost Control
  9. Business Intelligence/ Analytics
  10. Cloud Computing
What percentage of the city's ICT budget is being spent on cybersecurity measures?

  • Less than 5 percent of the ICT budget - 71%
Where do you see an increasing need for ICT workforce over the next few years?
91% Cybersecurity: data protection, compliance auditing, mobile/remote security
87% Business intelligence and data analytics
63% Application building, integration, and modernization
42% Data infrastructure updates
42% Software management
40% Vendor-managed IT services
37% Hired contractors or temporary labor

81% of cities are actively considering the potential of the Internet of Things in their strategic planning.

Rank the following articial intelligence (AI) utilizations in priority order for investment purposes:

  1.  AI for Analytics
  2. AI for Automated Traffic Control
  3. AI for Infrastructure Inspections
  4. AI for Benefits Eligibility
  5. AI for Physical/ Digital Robotic Controls, Robots (including Humanoid Robots)
Top 5 AI items the city is using:

  1. GeoSpatial/ Mapping 53%
  2. Cybersecurity  48%
  3. Predictive Policing 34%
  4. eDiscovery 32%
  5. Predictive Analytics 20%

The Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government.

The Center is a division of e.Republic, the nation’s only media and research company focused exclusively on state and local government and education.


Janet Grenslitt
Director of Surveys and Awards
Center for Digital Government