Making Philadelphia a Connected City

By Rosetta Carrington Lue

Rosetta Carrington Lue was appointed by Mayor Michael A. Nutter as the City of Philadelphia's first Chief Customer Service Officer. She helps drive a range of high priority projects and initiatives to improve all aspects of customer experience for 1.5 million residents, businesses, and visitors in the 5th largest city in the USA.

Jun 8, 2015 | Smart Cities | 0 comments

What does a connected city look like, and why should cities strive to become connected? At times the term connected city has been synonymous with a “smart city,” a city that leverages digital technologies to influence and streamline efficiencies and services, however there is definite distinction to be made between a smart and connected city.  Where a smart city prioritizes technology, a connected city prioritizes bringing citizens together in the most effective and efficient way.

The Center for Sustainable Design defines a Sustainable Connected City as “an urban area that leverages its technological and social infrastructure… supported by innovative governance in terms of policies, leadership and proper on-going management principles, to enable smart information services, aiming at improving its critical capabilities.”

By adding this social aspect to the idea of a “smart city,” government can improve local living conditions through the successful involvement of residents and private business in local planning and decision making. This creates willingness (and provides a buy-in for citizens) to interact with government to serve the public interest. This is what the City of Philadelphia is doing by working with leading technology companies to bring the public into the process of government.

A connected city is more than just a place where a lot of people live in the same area; it is a place where people regularly interact with each other, and their government, with communication methods that are straightforward and effortless, in order to create a cohesive and constructive culture of civic-minded and engaged communities.

The kind of connection, and improved communication, we are talking about is best facilitated through a network. At Philly311 we strive to be that network that connects citizens with each other and with city government. We give the many branches of local government a unified voice to establish an atmosphere of a welcoming and connected city.

As a governmental agency, Philly311 has to think about both its internal and external customers, and make sure that they are all properly communicating with each other to improve the quality of life in Philadelphia. By adopting a customer-centric model and adapting the entire culture of city government to be more customer focused – as public service should be – we can build trust and understanding between the public and the government that aims to serve them. This relationship allows us to understand our citizens’ needs, and be responsive and proactive in delivering services.

With our advanced customer relationship management solution we are able to listen to our customers, provide services, improve our systems based on user feedback, and anticipate and predict future service needs.

This responsive and predictive action makes us a connected city, using a system of open data, and data sharing we can communicate in a much more effective way. We can work internally between agencies and departments – as well as externally with citizens, residents, and visitors – to produce better results. We strive to set a standard of excellence for all customer experiences, both internally and externally.

Discussion

Leave your comment below, or reply to others.

Please note that this comment section is for thoughtful, on-topic discussions. Admin approval is required for all comments. Your comment may be edited if it contains grammatical errors. Low effort, self-promotional, or impolite comments will be deleted.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read more from MeetingoftheMinds.org

Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology

Engaging Historically Marginalized Communities During COVID-19

Engaging Historically Marginalized Communities During COVID-19

Since historically marginalized communities are already being disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, I am frustrated to see these communities also negatively impacted by the lack of on-the-ground public engagement. While I realize the threat of COVID-19 and the associated restrictions make conducting on-the-ground public engagement challenging, I want to encourage fellow planners to think more creatively. I will admit that I struggled to think creatively when I first heard that Clackamas Community College (CCC) would continue having mostly online classes in Spring Term 2021. CCC has had mostly online classes since the end of Winter Term 2020 when COVID-19 first started impacting Oregon. CCC’s decision about Spring Term 2021 became more stressful when Clackamas County staff told me that public outreach for their new shuttles could not be delayed until next summer.

If Companies Want a Diverse Workforce, They Need to Pay Attention to Transportation

If Companies Want a Diverse Workforce, They Need to Pay Attention to Transportation

A new toolkit has been developed to help businesses think through strategies to decrease mobility barriers to the workplace, which reduces turnover. When workers can reliably get to work regardless of their personal circumstances, it provides employment stability and the opportunity to build wealth. It’s a win-win. Developed through a partnership between Metropolitan Planning Council and a pro bono Boston Consulting Group team, the toolkit includes slide decks, an overview report, customizable templates, a cost calculator, and instructional videos walking a company through the thought process of establishing a baseline situation, evaluating and selecting a solution, and standing up a program.

Depending on the employer’s location and employees’ needs, solutions may range from helping with last-mile transportation to the transit system, to developing on-demand vanpools, to establishing in-house carpool matching systems. The ROI calculator gives employers the ability to determine the break-even cost—the subsidy amount a company can manage without hurting the bottom line.

How Affordable Green Housing Enhances Cities

How Affordable Green Housing Enhances Cities

Housing that is affordable to low-income residents is often substandard and suffering from deferred maintenance, exposing residents to poor air quality and high energy bills. This situation can exacerbate asthma and other respiratory health issues, and siphon scarce dollars from higher value items like more nutritious food, health care, or education. Providing safe, decent, affordable, and healthy housing is one way to address historic inequities in community investment. Engaging with affordable housing and other types of community benefit projects is an important first step toward fully integrating equity into the green building process. In creating a framework for going deeper on equity, our new book, the Blueprint for Affordable Housing (Island Press 2020), starts with the Convention on Human Rights and the fundamental right to housing.  

The Future of Cities

Mayors, planners, futurists, technologists, executives and advocates — hundreds of urban thought leaders publish on Meeting of the Minds. Sign up below to follow the future of cities.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This