Digital Urban Planning: Take Control of Your City's Digital Future

How much of a role does your city play in controlling its digital representation? Colin Wood examines the efforts of Louisville's director of innovation to link the city's assets digitally and integrate them with the prevailing platforms.
April 9, 2013, 12pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"In Louisville, Ky., Ted Smith, chief of economic growth and innovation, is working to help his fellow government agencies meet their goals by harnessing new approaches to open data in what he calls 'digital urban planning,'" reports Wood.

"Traditional city planning is just about the built environment -- things that are made of atoms and molecules," [Smith] said. "Digital urban planning is looking at your same city, but strictly in its digital representation and planning for its digital future.”

“What we don’t have right now is a formal discipline in government that says, ‘We have everything accurately portrayed in our built environment, in common digital tools,' Smith said, referencing such search tools as Google Maps, Apple Maps and MapQuest. Digital urban planning will begin with ensuring that government’s local assets – buildings, tourist attractions, public art, private businesses – appear in the tools most commonly used by the public. So if people are using Google Maps and Apple Maps, Smith said, then government should learn to use those tools too."

"Smith’s vision of digital urban planning in Louisville goes beyond maps -- eventually it could include every aspect of local life, connected online and linked to the real world," explains Wood. One example of what Smith has in mind is making data owned by the Kentucky Historical Society available to anyone at anytime by connecting it digitally to relevant places.

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Published on Monday, April 8, 2013 in Government Technology
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