The Center for Digital Government announced the winners of the 22nd annual Digital Cities Survey, recognizing cities utilizing technology to strengthen cybersecurity, enhance transparency and digital equity, plan for the future of work and more. Avondale, Arizona took the top ranking in the nation for the population category 75,000 to 124,999.
Avondale, Az shares the top title of 2022 Digital Cities with four other cities in alternate population categories: Long Beach, Ca; San Diego, Ca; Bellvue, Wa; Village Schaumburg , Il. The top 10-ranking cities in each of five population categories were honored during the Digital Cities Awards event at the National League of Cities “City Summit” on November 17 in Kansas City, Missouri.
“Constituents expect more from modern governments. Our Digital Cities survey winners have worked hard to keep the focus on the needs of the communities they serve while implementing technology to improve delivery and execution,” said CDG Vice President Brian Cohen. “We congratulate them for leading the way towards a smarter and more responsive government.”
Avondale has now won the award for multiple years but rose from fifth place in 2021 to first place in this year’s survey. From expanding public Wi-Fi to bolstering cybersecurity and centralizing IT services, Avondale has strengthened its digital presence in multiple areas.
“Avondale has made considerable strides in gathering, analyzing and utilizing the data we collect,” said Avondale CIO Jeff Scheetz. “A few ways we have gathered data include digital signage using pedestrian traffic insights, social media monitoring and collecting citizen input through micro-surveys.”
Scheetz explains that Avondale also has continued its focus on the expansion of public Wi-Fi, which has yielded valuable data. “Using a portal allowed us to determine user demographics and provide opportunities for target marketing with specific events for our parks,” Scheetz explained.
Avondale has also established an internal data warehouse to support quarterly reporting on its strategic plan, which is then shared on the city’s public dashboard. This helps the city reduce silos by making all city-gathered data transparent to all departments as well as the public, and helps inform city decision-making.
The Information Technology Department in Avondale has been working to centralize technology services for several years, including purchasing, project management, implementation, support and asset replacement. An IT governance board facilitates IT strategic planning, manages risk, and provides investment and management oversight.
Avondale also has leveraged state grant programs to help enhance its cybersecurity posture. The IT department expanded endpoint security monitoring of server infrastructure and individual devices, enabling quicker detection and identification of security threats. Other improvements include enhanced web application security and incident response work, like a disaster recovery and incident response tabletop exercise by the city’s IT Internal Audit department.
“In this day and age, cybersecurity is always at the forefront of everything the city does,” said Scheetz.
The Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute focused on technology policy and best practices in state and local government. CDG is a division of e.Republic, the nation’s only media and research company focused exclusively on state and local government and education.