LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) – The City of Little Rock has been recognized as a leader in the What Works Cities program that’s helping transform municipalities around the country into “smart” cities that use a variety of technology and data analytics to make systems more efficient and improve the overall quality of life for residents.
In a report from What Works Cities (WWC) released at the organization’s two-year anniversary, Little Rock was touted for being among those cities working with WWC’s Behavioral Insights Team (BIT) to use data to help inform recruitment messages for police departments. WWC reports that Chattanooga, Tenn., is the first city to work with the BIT and as a result has since seen its most diverse applicant pool to date.
Bruce Moore, Little Rock’s city manager said that while the program here is still young – the City joined WWC in March 2016 – he’s excited about what it means for the City’s future.
“With our open data initiative Little Rock was already ahead of the game,” Moore said. “We’re already using data to inform decision making and our residents can expect to see more efficiencies as a result.”
Melissa Bridges, the City’s performance and innovation coordinator said smart cities use a variety of hardware such as electronic monitoring devices and software programs to make systems more efficient and enhance the resident experience. She said the federal government has earmarked $80 million for research, infrastructure, grant programs and other initiatives tied to creating and supporting smart cities throughout the U.S.
She said Little Rock residents will soon be invited to forums to share input and guide implementation of the What Works Cities initiative.
“They will be quality of life meetings,” she said. “We’re not going to look at just one piece of the puzzle. We want to bring everybody to the table so that we get a holistic view of what’s going on in our city. We’ll be taking feedback from the residents about what other data we may need to look at.”
Led by Bridges, Little Rock’s WWC initiative is focused on key quality-of-life priorities including: increased data transparency, collaboration among police and 311 stakeholders, and streamlining procurement practices.