In receiving this recognition, the City was praised for its use of technology in responding to homeless challenges, improving the quality of life in neighborhoods, helping protect the environment for future generations and meeting the City’s Strategic Plan goals. San Diego was named No. 1 among cities with populations greater than 500,000. In 2017, San Diego was ranked third in the nation, and in 2018, it was ranked second.
“This recognition reflects our commitment through innovation to create more opportunities for residents, solve challenging problems and improve the quality of life for current and future generations,” said Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “This top national ranking demonstrates our progress and continued desire to create a better San Diego for all.”
Each summer, the survey examines the individual effectiveness of technology programs and plans from cities across the country. This year, the survey focused on how well cities used technology to meet individual city goals and priorities, improve the interactive experience for citizens and business partners, enhance citizen engagement, achieve cost savings through newfound efficiencies, boost transparency, enhance cybersecurity and efficiency and proactively address citizen expectations.
The City was ranked the best in the nation for using a variety of technology-related initiatives to:
• Help modernize the Homeless Management Information System, an online IT system used by the Regional Task Force on the Homeless to share information and coordinate care for homeless individuals and families and persons at risk of homelessness.
• Respond quickly to the statewide homelessness crises by standing up networks for three bridge shelters that housed 700 homeless individuals.
• Develop the City’s website and increase the number of digital services available to residents and businesses to make it easier to do business with the City, ranking second in the U.S. for pushing the boundaries of how citizen services are delivered.
• Connect the City’s Get It Done application with the Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team to expedite response to resident reports, and adding the ability to report common illegal dumping spots on the app while using data to proactively conduct neighborhood cleanups.
• Launch an online community engagement tool that facilitates resident input into the community planning process 24/7.
• Revamp the Development Services Department website, making it more user-friendly and efficient and making it easier and faster to apply for permits, schedule inspections, view code enforcement cases, request building records, request project information and view zoning information.
• Deploy software and power-saving measures that automatically reduce the amount of energy consumed by computers when not in active use.
• Leverage LiDAR (light detection and ranging) technology and San Diego Geographic Information Source (SanGIS) data, an online hub of geographical data that is stored and publicly available to download, to support the City’s Climate Action Plan and its Urban Tree Canopy Assessment, helping increase the amount of trees in the City's urban forest.
• Use geofencing technology to govern improper usage, parking and speeding in high-traffic areas of shared mobility devices.
• Provide residents continual access to interactive maps showing the current conditions of all of the City’s streets and planned improvements and information through the Open Data Portal, an online catalog of openly licensed City data, available for download in a machine-readable format.
• Post the online PerformSD dashboard that tracks how the City performs with charts, graphs and infographics and using NextRequest, an online portal to request public documents and records and view previous requests, making information readily available for public use.
• Engage residents to gauge their satisfaction with City services, helping to make informed, data-driven decisions to better serve them and provide responsive customer service.
“The City's IT staff tirelessly works with all departments to better serve the changing needs of residents, improve and enhance services and respond to evolving City priorities,” said Deputy Chief Operating Officer Jeff Sturak. “This recognition validates the staff’s work, and provides us with a benchmark to continue perfecting and enhancing our information technology.”