IBM has released a new platform for cities entitled City Forward. Aimed at city officials, researchers, academics, and interested citizens, the platform enables individuals to sort through data to arrive at patterns, trends, and correlations that help these individuals to understand city policy and potential positive outcomes for urban environments. By curating a community about these insights, City Forward also allows for value-added discussion and shared learning by city administrators and other interested individuals around the country.
From IBM via PRNewswire:
The site gives policy makers, citizen-advocates and the public a new perspective on how their respective cities are performing compared with others. It serves up easy-to-use data to help them make more informed decisions that improve services and make their citizens and businesses healthier, happier, safer, more productive and prosperous.
It captures vital statistics on the performance of many specific services such as education, safety, health, transportation, land use, utilities, energy, environment, personal income, spending, population growth and employment. Any citizen, advocate, government official and academic worldwide can then gather, compare, analyze, visualize, and discuss statistical trends, giving them real-world insight that can help shape public policy -- before laws are amended or passed.
Official data that reflects a city's well being may be publicly available, but they are often scattered or exist in a hodgepodge of formats, making it hard to compare one city or service to another. Even within a single city, such data is often published independently by individual agencies, making it hard to see the bigger picture. City Forward addresses these issues by bringing useful statistics and graphing tools together in one place, offering easier and more insightful analysis.
People might log onto the site to compare their hometown with a noted success shown for another, comparable city. They can then devise strategies to replicate those successes. The software also helps people spot unforeseen patterns and relationships between city life and governmental policies. City Forward can tap into new or diverse measures of daily life, and help people examine how one issue might affect another, seemingly unrelated issue. It can then spur new ideas that take advantage of these insights and assist people in predicting the results.
For instance, data in City Forward that measures traffic jams in a given city might not only speak volumes about commuting habits and road conditions, but also correlate to economic impact and air quality. Consequently, a city may then decide to make the wireless Internet more readily accessible in the hopes of encouraging telecommuting, reducing traffic jams, improving the air, or giving students access to additional academic resources -- making for safer, more educated and prosperous cities.
Cause Integration Perspective:
The IBM program, from its philanthropic wing, assists cities by providing data where previously, individuals in city planning had to rely on intuition. The program is an offshoot of IBM's Smarter Cities program, which endeavors to make cities more wired, and ultimately higher performing. By providing cities with access to this information IBM builds on its excellent reputation as an enabler of intelligent decision-making and outcomes for cities across the country.
Furthermore, the program constitutes a continued investment in cities, and continues IBM's tradition of applying intention to its corporate social responsibility programs. The program is in solid alignment with IBM's strategic goals, and so this cause integration is successful for the organization long-term while also helping bring success to cities across the country.