August 24, 2018Article

SmartCitiesDive: National League of Cities, Results for America partner on data initiative

by Chris Teale

Local/ What Works Cities/ 2018/

Dive Brief:

  • The National League of Cities (NLC) and Results for America (RFA) will partner on a workshop series to help local governments more effectively use data.
  • RFA is a lead partner of What Works Cities, a Bloomberg Philanthropies-launched initiative that helps cities use data and facts to improve residents’ lives. Through NLC University, the partnership will offer five courses to help cities build skills in data usage.
  • “Together, we can drive better outcomes that have the power to improve the lives of millions of our cities’ residents,” Clarence E. Anthony, CEO and executive director of NLC, said in a statement.

Dive Insight:

It is significant that the NLC, which is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities, is partnering with Bloomberg Philanthropies, launched by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to have an impact on public policy and advance local leadership on major issues like climate change. This partnership brings together two major organizations with the common goal of using data more effectively to make residents’ lives better.

The use of data has become an increasingly significant aspect of city government, with many having hired a Chief Data Officer (CDO) to crunch the numbers, measure success of projects and hold leaders accountable. It all is a far cry from when Oliver Wise arrived as the first ever city-level CDO in New Orleans in 2010, when there “really was no centralized data capacity within city government, nor really any strategic planning capacity either,” he told Smart Cities Dive.

This partnership should be front and center of NLC’s programming, with its integration into the league’s 2018 City Summit in November in Los Angeles, as well as next year’s Congressional City Summit in Washington, DC. Integrating this initiative into those events will help cities share best practices and work closely together, and are a crucial way for peers to learn from each other.

“Data and evidence best practices help cities clearly define problems and develop impactful solutions so that leaders can solve problems and effectively run cities,” Simone Brody, executive director of What Works Cities, said in a statement.