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Digital Cities Survey 2021 Winners Announced

2021 Digital Cities Survey Winners Advance Cybersecurity, Digitization of Services, Data Transparency, and Community Engagement

Nov. 16, 2021 – The Center for Digital Government (CDG) announces the winners of the 2021 Digital Cities Survey, recognizing cities utilizing technology to tackle social challenges, enhance services, strengthen cybersecurity and more.

The top 10-ranking cities in each of five population categories and the Future Ready Award winner will be honored during the 20th Anniversary Digital Cities Awards and Workshop event on December 8th. Registration is complimentary and open to the public sector only.

“Innovative cities are able to leverage data and harness new technology to enhance the services they provide,” said CDG Vice President Phil Bertolini. “The Center for Digital Government congratulates this year’s winners for putting technology to good use toward improving the lives of constituents and strengthening the relationships they have with their partners.”
This year’s first place winners in each population category include:
  • City of San Jose, Calif. (500,000 or more population category):
San Jose completed a new IT Strategic Plan aligned to the City Council’s new City Roadmap. A “Drive to Digital” initiative was launched in support of community and economic recovery efforts, which provided process reengineering and automated service delivery. Implementation of a Regional Virtual Security Operations Center and founding of the Coalition of City Chief Information Security Officers brought together professionals and partners to advance cybersecurity.
  • City of Long Beach, Calif. (250,000 – 499,999 population category):
Long Beach provided WiFi hubs in city parks for remote learning, expanded Tech To-Go lending in libraries, enhanced the Go Long Beach app for citizen reporting, and put feedback mechanisms in place, such as analyzing social media posts. The city embraced data and KPI’s which supported key restoration efforts such as locating economic development BizCare pop-ups in those neighborhoods most impacted by the pandemic.
  • City of Corona, Calif. (125,000-249,999 population category):
Corona has successfully leveraged the cloud with close to 90 percent of its infrastructure in the government cloud, making cyber protection much easier. In addition, the city’s internet connection has been bonded into four different data centers in different facilities to create failover capabilities.
  • City of Westminster, Colo. (75,000-124,999 population category):
Westminster’s engagement accomplishments included WestyRISE, a resident Advisory Resiliency Work Group with a subcommittee on data and technology and a citizen's group on data transparency; Council meetings and study sessions which allow live call in; a citizens’ Civic Academy; and the “Innovation Challenge” for citizens’ and employees’ ideas – several of which have been implemented.
  • City of Shawnee, Kan. (up to 75,000 population category):
Shawnee completed their first-ever strategic plan and received CARES Act funding totaling $550,000. The Maps and Open Data Portal’s "Fast Facts" and GIS StoryMaps provided innovative, expanded transparency. The drone program increased scene visibility and safety of police officers. City services were also added such as online business license renewals with 45 percent of renewals made online.

FUTURE READY AWARD 2021: The Future Ready Awards were created to recognize the innovative vision that states, counties, and cities have for the impact of technology on the people they serve – specifically those jurisdictions that are laying the foundation for the disruptive and converging forces that are shaping an uncertain future.

CDG presents the Future Ready award to the City of Durham, N.C. Durham continues to emphasize IT governance and managing with data. The use of data analytics technologies helped lead to the creation of a new department of Community Safety and Wellness. Investments in cyber security and business resiliency technologies resulted in stopping a ransomware attack. Finally, as part of their strategy to reduce the digital divide, Durham collaborated with Duke University in fiber connectivity to all city business units and public housing residents.

20th ANNIVERSARY PARTICIPATION AWARDS: CDG recognizes the following cities for their commitment and dedication to participating in our survey since it began in 2001 and honors them for their contributions to making government better.
18 years: City of Alexandria, Va., City of Riverside, Calif., City of Westminster, Colo. and City of Winston-Salem, N.C.
19 years: City of Hampton, Va., City of Independence, Mo. and Village of Schaumburg, Ill.
20 years: City of Roanoke, Va.

“The City of Roanoke has incorporated the survey instrument into their annual strategic planning and is honored for their participation and top 10 status every single year,” said Bertolini. “And we extend a heart-felt thanks to ALL the communities that have participated in our survey over the years.“

CDG expresses its gratitude to the underwriters of this year’s survey: Accela, Amazon Web Services, CAI, Dell Technologies, EasyVote Solutions, Infor, Laserfiche, Microsoft, Oracle America, Inc., Pure Storage, ServiceNow, SHI International Corp, Spectrum Enterprise, Splunk, TeamDynamix, Whyline, and Yubico.

Congratulations to the 2021 Digital Cities Survey Winners!

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

250,000-499,999 population category:
1st City of Long Beach, CA
2nd City of Durham, NC
3rd City of Virginia Beach, VA
4th City of Chandler, AZ
5th City of Henderson, NV
6th City of Riverside, CA
7th City of Wichita, KS
8th City of Greensboro, NC
8th City of Madison, WI
9th City of Irvine, CA
10th Town of Gilbert, AZ

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

75,000-124,999 or more population category:
1st City of Westminster, CO
2nd City of Columbia, MO
3rd City of Sugar Land, TX
4th City of Roanoke, VA
5th City of Avondale, AZ
5th City of Lynchburg, VA
6th City of Independence MO
7th City of Allen, TX
8th City of Kirkland, WA
9th City of Carlsbad, CA
10th City of Pueblo, CO

Up to 75,000 population category:
1st City of Shawnee, KS
2nd City of Danville, VA
3rd City of Tamarac, FL
4th Village of Schaumburg, IL
5th Town of Marana, AZ
6th City of Punta Gorda, FL
7th City of North Port, FL
8th City of Lancaster PA
9th Village of Tinley Park, IL
10th City of Miami Springs, FL


Top 10 IT programs/projects that are likely to have an increased focus in the next 12-18 months:
1. Cybersecurity
2. Citizen/customer engagement/experience
3. Disaster recovery/continuity of operations
4. Networks: broadband, connectivity, addressing digital divide
5. Hire/retain/nurture competent IT personnel
6. Data governance: transparency, open data
7. Business intelligence/analytics
8. Infrastructure modernization
9. Budget and cost control
10. IT governance

Top 5 most pressing challenges your city faced in the past year:
1. Impact of extreme crises on citizens and businesses
2. Loss of funding
3. Tax-base reductions
4. Staff reductions and operating hours to cut costs
5. Imposing federal policies and/or legal constraints

Top 5 priorities that most closely match your leadership’s top priorities:
1. Expand, simplify and/or improve access to services available to citizens and businesses
2. Address or increase responsiveness to crises affecting citizens and businesses
3. Expand economic development opportunities for citizens and businesses
4. Increase citizen safety
5. Improve citizen and business engagement with city government

About the Center for Digital Government: The Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute focused on technology policy and best practices in state and local government. CDG 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 e.Republic | Center for Digital Government