Mayor Durkan is looking to local tech talent to address pressing issues, but the City’s commitment to data privacy may limit the reach of technological innovation.
Technology’s influence on urban planning and city management is growing at light speed these days. Data collection, mapping and analysis tools, crowdsourcing platforms, and app-based services that track user trends are proliferating in number and scope. In the not-so-distant future such piecemeal technologies may all be stitched together by smart city frameworks. According to Technopedia, a smart city uses information and communication technologies to improve the performance of urban services with the goal of enhancing the quality of life for its residents. Worldwide investment on smart city initiatives has increased substantially in recent years and is estimated to grow to over 34 billion (USD) in 2020.
Despite being an international hub for big tech, Seattle has not received a smart city designation, nor does it appear to be in the running anytime soon. A review of several different rankings shows that Seattle routinely does not even make the top 10 for smart cities in the US. In fact, Seattle has has been outpaced in adopting technological innovations by not only the usual suspects, cities like Boston, San Francisco, Portland, but also surprise metros such as Tulsa, Oklahoma, which has gained national recognition for for its Urban Data Pioneer program.
Why is Seattle lagging behind other cities in adopting tech solutions?