Blog : The Connected City

Improving City Engagement With Gamification

Improving City Engagement With Gamification

Your city has started making progress to become smarter, but now what? Making the strides to move your city forward is already a large task but once that is done, the next challenge begins — finding ways to engage businesses and your citizens.

Gamification is a relatively new term. Per the always trusted Merriam-Webster dictionary, gamification is “the process of adding games or gamelike elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.”

Now, everyone from companies running trade-shows to large cities are looking towards gamification to present information in a new way.

Incorporating gamification in your city may seem to be a daunting task, but it can be an easy addition for you and can have benefits for your city’s businesses and citizens as well.

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Making Your City Smarter Isn’t as Hard as You Think

Making Your City Smarter Isn’t as Hard as You Think

Smart city is the new buzzword when it comes to urban development. Cities around the world are looking at ways to transform into the next technologically advanced city.

As was discussed in a previous blog, more people are moving into cities again and those people want information. And who can blame them? Our society now can share information rapidly. Information that was once limited to only small group of people now can be seen by thousands, all within a matter of seconds.

Of course, with every positive of the smart city and massive sharing of information there are the negatives. With the ever-growing big brother concerns that the world is turning into a 1984 society, people want to know that their safety is not of a concern.

So how can you take steps to make your city smarter all while keeping the best interests of your residents?

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The Economic Inclusion and Competitiveness Imperative

The Economic Inclusion and Competitiveness Imperative

By Johnathan M. HolifieldCo-founder, ScaleUp Partners //

During the last century, America’s position as a global economic leader was unaffected by the lack of contribution of disconnected Americans in key performance areas. We were the largely unchallenged global leaders, and U.S. economic competitiveness was assured despite less than optimal productivity from more than half our population. This is no longer the case. With unyielding global competition for jobs and opportunity, our nation cannot continue maintaining the walls that separate too many Americans from opportunities to successfully compete and prosper. Without an economy open to more contributions from more Americans (especially from disconnected populations; generally, women, African Americans, Latinos, and rural populations) we accept spectacular success for a few at the expense of a resilient, globally competitive national economy.

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Why Can’t We Just Look Up to See When the Bus Is Coming?

Why Can’t We Just Look Up to See When the Bus Is Coming?

By Scott Kolber, CEO, Roadify Transit // 

How civic partnerships can create Transit Information Networks (TINs) to spur economic development and promote transportation equity.

Civic collaboration = shared success

A central theme of the recent CEO’s for Cities national meeting in Columbus was that a culture of civic collaboration between public and private organizations, including business, government and everyone in between, can deliver shared success. Columbus’ success in winning the $40 million federal DOT Smart Cities grant, along with $100 million in additional grants from Vulcan, and local business and organizations, is measurable evidence of this culture in practice.

In an innovative collaboration, committed local leadership, including business improvement districts, foundations, economic development boards, chambers of commerce, advocacy groups, local employers, franchises, merchants, transit agencies and city government, can fund and establish Transit Information Networks (TINs) –indoor electronic screens on which transit arrival times and related information can be distributed and displayed. This model can deliver immediate, highly visible benefits to many stakeholders at a modest cost.

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September Changemaker: Carol Evans

September Changemaker: Carol Evans

Carol Evans, Executive Director, Legacy Parks Foundation  //

What is your advice for the next generation of city changemakers?

The best advice I can give to the next generation is to listen in many different ways. So many people are passionate and have great ideas. It is extremely important to give these talented people a voice and a platform.

An expression I like to use is to “make the table rounder and larger.” By this I mean it is part of my job to invite people to this table so that their ideas can be heard and we can achieve sustained success. In my line of work, you do not always have to come up with the best idea but you have to be able to identify the best idea.

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What’s the Role of Economic Development Organizations in Inclusive Growth?

What’s the Role of Economic Development Organizations in Inclusive Growth?

Cross-posted from Regional Growth Strategies blog.  By Pete Carlson, President, Regional Growth Strategies //

Recently, I had the opportunity to spend a day with local economic development leaders from across the country to explore the role of economic development organizations (EDOs) in achieving more inclusive growth. The strong interest in the meeting suggest that a lot of EDOs are wrestling with this question.

I, too, have been wrestling with this question for some time now, and I’ve come to a few conclusions about what works and what doesn’t that might be useful to others heading down this path.

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Building A Walkable City

Building A Walkable City

By Daniel Drees, Cleveland Foundation Summer City Fellow, CEOs for Cities // 

Walkable Cities

Jeff Speck’s book, Walkable City, might have been published in 2012, but his ideas are still revolutionizing American cities. It’s not written for the car-dependant urban dweller.  If you are adamant about continuing your white-knuckled commute, then you will not be friends with this book. If you think that people on bikes ruin the roads in your city or you might only consider the bus an option if your car breaks down, you will not like what Speck has to say about walkability, bikeability, and transit. Speck’s steps to achieve a walkable city are unapologetic odes to those for whom cities were first designed: the people.

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Believeland. The Secret Sauce of City Success.

Believeland. The Secret Sauce of City Success.

By: Lee Fisher, Senior Advisor, CEOs for Cities   |   @fisher4cities

My father-in-law, the legendary West Side Cleveland City Councilman Michael J. Zone was a prisoner of war in WWII.  Less than 60 days after he and Mary Zone (who served in Cleveland City Council after Mike died) were married, Mike enlisted in the army; and 30 days later he was caught by the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge.

Mike never talked about his experience, even to his own family, so everyone wondered how Mike survived as a POW when stronger, healthier, and younger men did not. One day we found the answer.

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Seven Planning Principles for Successful Community Design

Seven Planning Principles for Successful Community Design

By: Jack Bialosky, Jr., AIA, LEED AP   |   @bialosky_arch

Bialosky ClevelandWe asked Jack Bialosky, Jr., AIA, LEED AP, Senior Principal of Bialosky Cleveland to discuss the Seven Planning Principles his firm uses for successful community design. Want to dig deeper? Join us on Wednesday, July 20 at 2 p.m. EST for a free webinar featuring Jack and his colleague David W. Craun, AIA, LEED AP. Principal and Director of Design at Bialosky Cleveland.


Bialosky Cleveland follows seven basic planning principles for community design that we believe apply to all types and all sizes of our projects – from residential to institutional – interior to urban planning. These principles, we believe, help stage a safe pedestrian environment that encourages community interaction and create the sense of place that so many spaces are missing.

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Planning Principle #1: The Grid

Planning Principle #1: The Grid

By: Jack Bialosky, Jr., AIA, LEED AP   |   @bialosky_arch

We have heard much in recent years about New Urbanism and Traditional Town Planning. On the one hand is nostalgia for what is called Main Street America; that is a well-scaled pedestrian friendly environment with human scaled storefronts and defined architectural character. On the other hand there is an aversion to so called big box retail developments and suburban sprawl- that is relatively unplanned hodge-podge developments with no consistent architectural character or sense of place. If these themes sound familiar, how can we design for the former and avoid the latter?

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