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Digital Cities Survey 2019 — Winners Announced

Open to all U.S. cities, the survey selected national leaders in the Top 10 characteristics of a Digital City: Leadership Alignment, Citizen-centric, Efficient, Data Governance, Secure, Resilient, Staffed/ Supported, Connected, Innovative, and Best Practices.

2019 Digital Cities Survey Winners Leverage Technology to Enhance City Services and Advance City Priorities
Nov. 14, 2019 – The Center for Digital Government (CDG) announced the winners of the 2019 Digital Cities Survey. Now in its 19th year, the annual survey recognizes cities using technology to tackle social challenges, enhance services, strengthen cybersecurity, and more.

“Congratulations to this year’s Digital Cities winners, who are working to make their communities more secure, user-friendly, efficient and resilient,” said Teri Takai, executive director for CDG. “Their efforts are making technology a driver of better, smarter, more responsive government.”

“The top Digital Cities this year are taking the IT department far beyond the role of service provider,” said Phil Bertolini, co-director of CDG. “They’re exploring creative ways to leverage their technology investments and redefining the role of the public-sector technology leader at the city level.”

The survey honors cities in five population classifications: 500,000 or more, 250,000 to 499,999; 125,000 to 249,999; 75,000 to 124,999 and fewer than 75,000. 

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

  • San Diego, Calif.: San Diego’s citizen-centric focus is evident in its website, mobile apps, expansion of open data, and the Get It Done citizen reporting tool. The city is also focused on its cybersecurity strategy -- all 11,500 city employees complete annual cybersecurity training. For the Housing San Diego initiative, IT overhauled the Development Services website, provided an online input tool for residents and streamlined the online permit process. The city’s new Digital Strategy Division seeks to improve efficiencies by breaking down silos, improving the end user experience and developing streamlined processes so employees can get the digital tools they need to improve city services.
  • Miami, Fla.: Miami formed the Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) to ensure technology is strategically aligned to city priorities. Miami’s Innovation Academy, an intensive two and half days at the end of every month, makes “lean” process improvement techniques a cultural focus. One hundred percent of DoIT staff and more than 250 employees have received academy training so far.
  • Norfolk, Va.: Norfolk is using technology to support a new city goal of “Promoting Inclusive Economic Growth.” City IT personnel are working with four other southside cities to develop a plan to build a regional connectivity ring of dark fiber that will run through the city’s “Technology Zone” and will connect to an overseas cable landing site. When constructed, the connectivity ring will help drive economic growth and make available lower-cost broadband services in underserved areas of the city.
  • Lynchburg, Va.: Lynchburg leverages IT to support several city priorities. For example, the GIS team provides data analysis, maps and demographic data and collaborates with a local college professor on the Bridges to Progress initiative, a data-driven approach focused on reducing poverty levels.  
  • Weston, Fla.: City officials have embraced technology to make services more efficient, effective and transparent. IT’s contract for Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service saves the city $75,000 annually; the new ePermitHub online has resulted in a 70 percent reduction in foot traffic; the newly revised website has an active Alexa Skill; and the city’s website enables citizens to access more than 75 services.
CDG thanks the underwriters of this year’s survey: Laserfiche, Tyler Technologies, Veeam Software, and Zscaler.

Congratulations to the 2019 Digital Cities Survey Winners:

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

250,000 – 499,999 population:
1st City of Miami, FL
2nd City of Durham, NC
3rd City of Virginia Beach, VA
4th City of Wichita, KS
5th City of Kansas City, MO
5th City of Plano, TX
6th City of Madison, WI
7th City of Long Beach, CA
8th City of Henderson, NV
9th City of Chandler, AZ
10th City of Greensboro, NC
10th City of Riverside, CA

125,000 – 249,999 population:
1st City of Norfolk, VA
2nd City of Cape Coral, FL
3rd City of Bellevue, WA
4th City of Alexandria, VA
5th City of Baton Rouge, LA
5th City of Pasadena, CA
6th City of Corona, CA 
6th City of Winston-Salem, NC
7th City of Rancho Cucamonga, CA
8th City of Fort Collins, CO
9th City of Augusta, GA
10th City of Roseville, CA

75,000 – 124,999 population:
1st City of Lynchburg, VA
2nd City of Westminster, CO
3rd City of Columbia, MO
4th City of Sugar Land, TX
5th City of Roanoke, VA
6th City of Boulder, CO
6th City of Independence, MO
7th City of Allen, TX
8th City of Duluth, MN
9th City of Longmont, CO
10th City of Avondale, AZ

Up to 75,000 population:
1st City of Weston, FL
2nd City of Danville, VA
3rd City of Tamarac, FL
4th Village of Pinehurst, NC
5th City of Lebanon, MO
6th City of North Port, FL
7th Village of Schaumburg, IL
8th City of Punta Gorda, FL
9th City of De Soto, TX
10th City of Marana, AZ
10th City of Shawnee, KS

CLICK HERE for the article on the top 10 winners who will be honored at a special awards dinner during the National League of Cities’ annual conference in San Antonio on November 21st.


2019 Top ten technologies and initiatives which are likely to have an increased focus in the next year:

1. Cybersecurity
2. Citizen Experience/ E-Service Provision
3. Disaster Recovery/ Continuity of Operations
4. Business Intelligence/ Analytics
5. Hire and Retain Competent IT Personnel
6. Data Governance
7. Increased Agency/Department/ IT Collaboration
8. Infrastructure Modernization
9. Cloud Computing
10. Mobility: Mobile Applications

Data-driven; Budget/Cost Control Measures in Use Now
87% Web Analytics
86% Dashboards (up 11%)
83% Performance Benchmarks, Measurement & Reporting
81% Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Established, Defined and Published (up 11%)
80% Business Intelligence/Data Analytics (up 10%)
73% E-Procurement
67% IT Investment Oversight/Project Review Mechanism
56% Department Performance Reports published online

Innovative Initiatives and Emerging Technologies Implemented
82% Innovative Cross-Department Business/ Technology Collaboration (up 19%)
80% Drones (up 31%)
56% Internet of things (IoT) /Edge Computing (up 15%)
55% Innovation Management and Testbeds (includes public/private partnerships) (up 22%) 
43% Artificial Intelligence/ Machine Learning (up 23%)
17% Augmented Reality/ Virtual Reality (up 7%)
  4% Blockchain (same)
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