Jeanne Holm, Sr. Tech Advisor to the Mayor and Deputy CIO, City of Los Angeles, said that LA has 4 million people from 44 countries who speak 220 languages. There are 48,000 city employees. LA is a smart city using technology to connect.
A smart city is one that connects its citizens; LA wants to be the smartest city in the world. (LA has 25% of its population that lives in poverty.) Their data is open and has about 1,200 data sets. Open data means the city is accountable. 311LA is a mobile app for submitting service requests to the city. It gets about 1.2 million calls/year which go into a database that is available to anyone.
Civic hacking by citizens with a civic focus builds the community. Multiple projects have been launched by Hack For LA. None of its people are paid.
The Data Science Federation is made up of 14 universities and colleges in a public-private partnership. One of the challenges is getting young people to want to work in city government and motivate them to see how they look at city problems in new ways. The students learn about the city and work with data science professors.
Data has made a big difference to the homeless issue (every night 30,000 people sleep in shelters). Housing is becoming very unaffordable, so a comprehensive homeless strategy was developed.
It is one thing to put out data, but it is another thing to make it actionable. If we open up knowledge and information, what kinds of behaviors will change? For example, car pooling has been encouraged and stimulated by the use of data to improve the air quality in LA. Climate change has a huge effect. Cities adopted the Paris climate agreement goals; there are 382 climate mayors representing 68 million Americans who have committed to support the goals.
An earthquake warning app can warn people when an earthquake is coming. But there is a disconnect with the future vision, and libraries can help fix this.
Many kids go to the library to upload their homework. But others can work in comfort from their homes because they live in an affluent area. So the city has installed free Wi-Fi hot spots in poorer areas of the city. Libraries are part of the solution to digital inclusion. Connectivity leads to access and literacy. People with broadband access at home find a job 7 weeks faster and at a $5,000 higher salary than those without. Digital literacy is essential, and libraries are a key area where it happens. Every child gets a library card which is their gateway to the future.
LA Makerspace brings spaces into libraries which opens up children’s imagination. Information, data, and knowledge is critical to the transformation and empowers communities. It is important for departments to work together in different ways; the mayor’s office now works with libraries. We must start to think about where we get the data. Sensors are everywhere; we need to understand how to gather the data from them. Smartphones potentially make everyone a citizen scientist.
Libraries can be a part of this by helping citizens understand the systems and services available to them.