Innovating City Life
How Cities Like Denver Are Transforming Urban Life
If you sat down asked people to associate words with their local city government, “technology” is rarely the term people would choose. Unfortunately, as we march into 21st century many cities and governments are being left in the dust. In an era where you can instantly contact customer support when your phone has an issue, or when you can follow your favorite star’s Instagram to see their daily routine, government officials are still obtuse and difficult to reach for many. And as this technology gap grows, trust decreases.
Fundamentally, social media and our digital identities online have changed how we interact with others. By and large, governments and large cities have ignored the benefits of this new technology. However, some cities are flipping that idea on its head. The push for “smarter” cities has driven engagement with their citizens like never before by embracing platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
The Future Is Now – Just Look At Denver
Last month at the Tampa Smart City Connect Expo, I had the chance to meet Emily Silverman, Smart City Program Manager for the City & County of Denver. She is responsible for developing and deploying Smart City program. This includes building cross-functional teams to drive the use of innovative IoT technology and creating partnerships with companies with a single goal in mind: creating a safer, more efficient physical environment through technological innovation.
After meeting her, I had a look at Denver’s social media accounts to see what she meant. Immediately, I was struck that Mayor Michael Hancock is an active influencer on Twitter.
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Denver is a wonderful example of the smart, people-focused changes that my company Urbanarbra pushes for on a daily basis. The Denver government is working for their citizens like any other city, but by harnessing social media to inform others it also makes people feel great to live in the city. No longer is the Mayor’s office hidden behind complicated paper forms and busy phone lines. In Smart Cities like Denver, they’re reachable, they listen, and answer.
Using the Digital World to Build Cities for Everyone
One incredibly intelligent thing cities like Denver are doing is using social media as a platform to get input on key projects and initiatives.
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Sourcing opinions and testing the waters for important projects allows city officials to get a read on the public in early stages. The only way to do this in the past would be for city officials to send out paper surveys or put notices in a paper that might get easily missed and are cumbersome to respond to. Embracing the Digital World has allowed urban centers to increase engagement with its citizens which leads to a happier public.
When cities embrace this philosophy they are embracing the way people live. The internet is no longer a static advertising resource. Today, people get their information online by engaging with trusted and reliable sources that speak to their interests. By its very design, social media has a degree of openness and transparency that provides excellent opportunities for local governments to build trust and keep people informed. Social media also makes it possible for city councils and commissions to communicate directly with the people impacted, both positively and negatively, by their decisions.
In short, cities and local governments have as much to gain, if not more, from embracing digital marketing and social media management than traditional businesses. But this is only true if, like in Denver, technology is rolled out in a way that puts people first.
To learn more about how Urbanarbra has worked with innovators and entrepreneurs in the Smart City sector, visit our website.