A technologically-savvy city is no longer fodder for fantasy film; it’s an expectation. We live in a time where technology can and should make our urban environments more efficient in terms of energy consumption, transportation, land use, citizen participation and government processes. The Internet of Things — an interconnected network of technological devices, users and data — has already fundamentally changed the way we live compared to even a decade ago.
And as our cities grow more connected — from the services they offer, to the residents within their boundaries and the needs of their communities — they are generating a massive amount of data, with the potential to generate so much more. The 2013 federal Open Data Policy (in which data is made available to the general public via open data portals) allows cities to find gaps in services, such as identifying food deserts or inefficiencies in our transportation systems. They allow civic technologists to access information regarding a community’s assets and needs, which in turn allows anyone to identify (and build) potential solutions.