Pittsburgh Prioritizes ‘Inclusive’ Tech Initiatives With New Innovation Roadmap

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

Pittsburgh has laid the foundation for the next phase of its ongoing municipal operations transformation. On Tuesday, Mayor Bill Peduto announced his city’s new Roadmap for Inclusive Innovation, a strategy to leverage the city’s tech boom and revitalization and extend its opportunities to citizens from all walks of life.

Fostering innovation is a common goal for various U.S. cities, but as was laid out in the introduction of Pittsburgh’s new strategy, “[t]oo few cities directly address the goal of innovation through the lens of inclusivity.”   

Steel City’s roadmap echoes San Francisco’s open data strategy when it comes to improving digital literacy through public trainings and empowering citizens’ decisionmaking through the distribution of datasets.

Pittsburgh is putting inclusivity front and center.

“To be truly successful, Pittsburgh’s technology boom has to be accessible for all—this plan will enable us to be a model for cities around the country in providing equitable services and opportunities for residents and businesses in every neighborhood citywide,” Peduto said, according to the city’s announcement.

A year in the making, the plan developed by Pittsburgh’s Department of Innovation and Performance spans more than 100 future projects, from expanding wireless Internet access to disadvantaged communities to establishing a Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center that would see crime and 311 inquiry data used in interactive infographics and apps.

It will also mean using data to determine municipal priorities, like which roads the city repaves first.

A partnership with Code for America is currently designing a procurement app that will streamline city purchasing and regularly publish purchase information.

Unique to Pittsburgh’s roadmap is an emphasis on using smart technology to close digital divides—modernizing public infrastructure like bus stops to be more accessible and informative and trash cans to alert waste management when they’re full to cut down on pollution and costs.

Clean tech, particularly in the Uptown Eco-Innovation District, is a pillar of the new roadmap.

Sensors tracking air quality, water quality and water and and energy consumption will, hopefully, inspire a wave of sustainable businesses and entrepreneurs. Meeting the city’s goal of reducing energy and water consumption 50 percent by 2030 would be an added bonus.

All six of the roadmap’s focus areas can be found here, complete with progress and performance charts.

“This is a living document that will continue to evolve over time,” Debra Lam, the city’s chief innovation and performance officer, said in a statement. “Our goal is to continue to incorporate new programs and projects using the Roadmap as a foundation.”

PREVIOUSLY on Route Fifty: Pittsburgh’s Innovation Chief Pushes a Big Municipal ‘Cultural Shift’

Dave Nyczepir is News Editor for Government Executive’s Route Fifty.

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