Smart City: Irving Wins ‘What Works Cities’ Silver Certification

The City of Irving has won silver certification from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities—the national standard of well-managed cities recognizing the most effective use of data to inform policy and funding decisions.

smart citiesThe honor comes in a year that’s tested the mettle of municipalities nationwide. Since 2018, 40 cities have achieved the certification. This year 16 new cities were recognized, including gold-winning Austin and silver-winning San Antonio.

“During the pandemic, using data to inform decision-making was more important than ever for cities,” said Michael Bloomberg in a statement. “By putting data at the center of their COVID-19 response efforts, these cities saved lives and helped residents recover—and they now have a chance to come out of this crisis stronger, more resilient, and better prepared for the next one.”

Data sophistication is increasingly important.

Data-informed strategies enable cities to increase resident satisfaction, reduce carbon emissions, address homelessness, and more. The certification program has “inspired a movement of cities that are doubling down on their commitment to building the most well-managed local governments possible and using certification as a roadmap for doing so,” per Bloomberg Philanthropies.

A report in collaboration with What Works Cities that was recently released by the Monitor Institute by Deloitte found that the percentage of cities tracking progress toward key goals has more than doubled (from 30% to 75%) since 2015. The report also notes that the percentage of cities engaging with residents on a goal and communicating progress has more than tripled (from 19% to 70%), the percentage of cities with a platform and process to release data to the public has more than tripled (from 18% to 67%), and the percentage of cities modifying their programs based on data analytics has more than doubled (from 28% to 61%). These are part of the data practices assessed for the What Works Cities certification.

Elsewhere in the Dallas region, the City of Arlington was certified Silver in 2019, moving up to the Gold level in 2020.

To date, over 200 cities have completed a certification benchmarking assessment, Bloomberg Philanthropies notes. That assessment is the first step to receiving support from What Works Cities.

Certified cities receive a custom city assessment that highlights their unique strengths, as well as opportunities for improvement. Program partners also provide coaching, training, and technical assistance to help city leaders improve capabilities and embrace practices aligned to the certification standard. The goal? To drive community outcomes.

To learn more or participate, go here.

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