These two cities were named among the 2018 Digital Cities survey winners

(Southside Daily Photo/courtesy of govtech.com)
(Southside Daily Photo/courtesy of govtech.com)

The Center for Digital Government announced Norfolk and Virginia Beach as among the winners of the 2018 Digital Cities Survey.

This is the third year in a row that Virginia Beach has earned the No. 1 spot among “digital cities” with a population size of 250,000 to 499,999.

Norfolk placed fifth in the 125,000 to 249,999 population category.

The city has been ranked as a top 10 digital city for the past three years as well.

The survey, in its 18th year, 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.

“This year’s Digital Cities Survey winners are leading the nation when it comes to leveraging data to improve a wide range of city services and initiatives,” said Teri Takai, executive director of the Center for Digital Government.

First-place winners were identified based on 10 key characteristics, which have been slightly modified this year: Open, Citizen-centric, Collaborative, Secure, Staffed/Supported, Connected, Efficient, Resilient, Innovative and Best Practices.

Virginia Beach’s most significant activities that helped it earn the No. 1 spot were as follows:

  • StormSense: Installing 12 additional Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to mitigate impacts of sea level rise and recurrent flooding and build resilient communities
  • VB Connect: Extending to residents voice-activated access to city information on Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant platforms
  • Data Analytics Training Program: Equipping employees with analytics skills to encourage data-driven decision making and improving the city’s Open Data portal
  • Smart City Strategy: Aligning smart city priorities with City Council’s 10 Strategic Goals to enhance quality of life for all citizens

“Securing a three-peat is not easy,” said Peter Wallace, Virginia Beach’s chief information officer. “This distinction encapsulates our employees’ hard work and our leadership’s foresight. Virginia Beach is reimagining the future of government, and we are challenging ourselves to deliver an experience consistent with that vision.”

Norfolk’s open data policy, created in 2017, and the launch of their data portal in March 2018, gave the city the edge it needed to secure their fifth place.

“We are proud to receive this recognition.  This makes the third consecutive year that Norfolk has been named a Top 10 Digital City by the Center for Digital Government,” said Steven DeBerry, Norfolk’s chief information officer. “We appreciate this recognition of our efforts to deliver innovative and effective technology services that connect our residents to their city government, promote transparency, encourage resilience and improve public safety.”

For more information about the 2018 Digital Cities Survey winners, click here.

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