AUTHORS

Tod Newcombe -- Senior Editor. With more than 20 years of experience covering state and local government, Tod previously was the editor of Public CIO, e.Republic’s award-winning publication for information technology executives in the public sector. He writes the "Urban Notebook" column and is the author of several books on information management. 

Tod Newcombe
December 8, 2014

4 Tech Trends Changing How Cities Operate

A recent survey reveals how local governments are using technology (both new and old) to engage citizens and improve performance.
December 1, 2014

Open Data’s Hidden Value

States and localities can profit from it, and it’s time to start talking about how.
November 10, 2014

5 Tech Issues Every Governor Needs to Know

A recent survey of state CIOs shows how governments can modernize and run efficiently.
November 1, 2014

Drones Take Off, But Regulations Remain Grounded

Everyone from Hollywood to state and local governments want in on the action.
October 13, 2014

First Responders Left in the Dark on Public Safety Network

The people who would actually use the first nationwide public safety wireless communications network have largely been left out of its creation, possibly hurting its effectiveness.
October 1, 2014

States Approach Federal Data Breach Law with Caution

With 47 different state laws on what companies are supposed to do when they become victims of cyberattack, is it time for federal legislation?
September 4, 2014

Can Body Cameras Really Reduce Ferguson Police's Use of Force?

Ferguson police are the latest of more than 1,000 departments to wear body cameras, which are proven to reduce officers' use of force and citizens' complaints against cops.
September 1, 2014

Coming Soon to a Government Near You: Cloud Computing

Can a model procurement agreement speed the adoption of cloud computing?
August 11, 2014

Utah Leading the Mobile-Friendly Government Movement

Most state and local governments in the U.S. are stuck in a desktop world with websites and services that don't work on smartphones and tablets. But not Utah.
August 1, 2014

Texting 911: The Tech Is There but Cities Aren't Ready

Only 100 emergency call centers out of more than 6,000 across the country are capable of receiving and responding to text messages.
July 14, 2014

Why Are Governments Stuck in the Stone Age?

Cloud computing is a cheaper, more reliable way to manage electronic records than hard drives or paper -- yet a recent IRS scandal shows how governments at every level are slow to change their ways.
July 1, 2014

A Quick Way to Build a Wireless Network

Local governments are using mesh networks to stay connected during outages, offer high-speed Wi-Fi and breach the digital divide. But it’s not perfect.
June 9, 2014

Can Phone Apps Rebuild Trust in Government?

Some cities think the key to getting citizens to trust in and see the value of government again is developing civic technology that's proven to work.
June 4, 2014

Beyond Congestion Pricing: Reducing Traffic Problems by Changing People’s Commuting Habits

A company called Urban Engines works with city transit authorities to figure out better ways to use existing infrastructure and to craft incentives to change people’s transportation behaviors and reduce congestion.
June 1, 2014

NYC’s Simple Plan for Reducing IT Fraud and Waste

After losing hundreds of millions of dollars, the city is starting to clamp down on IT contractors to make sure taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely.
May 12, 2014

Comcast-Time Warner Merger Would Hurt Municipal Broadband

If the feds allow two of the biggest cable companies to combine, municipalities would lose even more power to create high-quality, low-cost publicly owned broadband services for their citizens.
May 1, 2014

Santander: The Smartest Smart City

The Spanish city is embedded with more than 12,000 sensors to help the government operate as efficiently as possible. It’s changing the way Europe thinks about cities.
May 1, 2014

The United Arab Emirates: A Rising Star in E-Government

How the small Middle Eastern country jumped from 49th to 28th in online service delivery should have state and local CIOs in the United States paying close attention.
April 7, 2014

A New Way for Schools to Pay for Technology

The federal program that funds technology in schools spends about $600 million on outdated tools like pagers. The FCC wants to reform it, but how that happens is subject to political debate.
April 1, 2014

Small Cities Struggle to Battle the Rise in Heroin Abuse

There’s a whole new generation of heroin addicts in rural areas and smaller, struggling cities, which have few resources to fight the epidemic and its affects.
March 17, 2014

Why Is Government Still Using Windows XP?

Many state and local governments are still using the soon-to-be obsolete operating system, and the upgrade transition is proving very slow and costly.
March 10, 2014

Delaware Seeks to Stem the Shortage of Cybersecurity Workers

Facing a national shortage of experts able to battle the growing number of cyberthreats, Delaware's new initiative to boost its cybersecurity workforce could be a model for other states.
March 7, 2014

Seniors Create Their Own Communities in Cities

More and more seniors are creating naturally occurring retirement communities, forcing cities to rethink zoning laws and how they provide services.
March 3, 2014

Google Glass Now for Public Transit

Utah tests the state's appetite for wearable technology as part of an overall strategy to try to better serve mobile users.
March 1, 2014

Is the Cost of 311 Systems Worth the Price of Knowing?

311 systems have revolutionized the way cities gather information, allowing them to tackle small problems before they get too big. But running them can be extremely costly.
March 1, 2014

Gentrification's Not So Black and White After All

Despite complaints about well-educated white people buying up houses in low-income minority neighborhoods, recent studies show that gentrification often helps the original residents.
February 27, 2014

Is That Streetlamp Watching You?

New technology makes it possible to turn ordinary streetlamps into data-gathering networks. But is it too much of a good thing?
February 10, 2014

Why Do Some Governments Struggle to Make Online Services Viable?

Recent audits reveal how poor strategic planning leads to lost opportunities for governments that are looking for new ways to deliver services at the lowest cost possible.
February 5, 2014

Can Mayors Really Be Robin Hood?

Several mayors have promised to tackle income inequality, but some cast doubt that cities can make a difference.
February 1, 2014

Should Cities Run Subways Later to Attract Young Professionals?

Late-night transit options may make a city more attractive to younger generations, but running trains around the clock has its drawbacks.
January 17, 2014

PHOTOS: Can Streetcars Revive the Glory Days of Urban Transit?

Once America's most popular form of urban transit, streetcars practically disappeared but have returned to cities with a vengeance.
January 13, 2014

Can Government Avoid Technology Failure?

HealthCare.gov is another reminder of the ongoing problems government has with technology. But success and innovation are possible, says an expert.
January 1, 2014

Breaking Down the Barriers to Affordable Housing

With homeownership at its lowest level in decades, the demand for rental housing is high -- and so are the rents.
December 3, 2013

As Landline Phones Disappear, Some Voice Concerns

Not only are landlines more reliable during disasters, rural residents and the elderly are concerned about the new generation of phone services that will likely be less regulated.
December 1, 2013

Boston Mayor Blogs His Way Out of Office

Outgoing Mayor Tom Menino, who was in office for 20 years, has launched what may be the first-ever transition blog to help his successor succeed.
November 5, 2013

From School to Home to Work, Governments Struggle with Financial Policies for Tech Devices

Many school districts pay for students to bring iPads home and many government agencies allow employees to use their personal devices for work. But issues like who pays for devices when they break, get lost or stolen are unclear.
October 2, 2013

El Paso Teaches New Urbanism to Architects, Engineers

Hoping to reinvent the sprawling city, El Paso officials decided to teach the development community the importance of new urbanism. Now, other cities are following in its footsteps.
October 1, 2013

California is First to Require Websites to Let Minors Delete Social Media Posts

Doing what Congress failed to do, California became the first state to require websites to let minors delete what they post on social media. But the new law has already ignited a heated debate.
September 12, 2013

The Rise of Cities and the Mayors Who Run Them

With the feds and states more marginalized than ever, cities -- and the mayors who run them -- are growing stronger.
August 29, 2013

Broadband: Public Officials Want More Government Participation

A Governing survey shows strong support for government-run fiber networks, but it’s less clear how they will get built.
August 15, 2013

Ferry Service Cutbacks Hurt New Orleans Commuters, Economy

Funding cutbacks have reduced both the number of ferries that cross the Mississippi River and the schedules of those that remain, leaving commuters with few options.
August 8, 2013

Are Police and Fire Department Mergers Catching On?

As the cost of public safety continues to rise, some cities are thinking the once unthinkable: merging police and fire agencies into one.
August 1, 2013

Crime, Not Debt, is Detroit’s Biggest Problem

Two powerful women in Detroit are pushing hard for the city to focus its resources on fighting its high violent crime rate, which, in 2012, was five times the national average.
July 31, 2013

City Taxi Systems Struggle with Change

Calls for reforming city taxi services are getting louder just as new technologies are making it easier to get a ride.
July 18, 2013

Do Parking Minimums Hurt Housing Affordability?

Some cities think they do, and are moving to change parking mandates to encourage more affordable apartments.
June 28, 2013

Is Big Data Just for Big Cities?

Small and midsize cities are behind in harnessing data to make a city run smarter. Dubuque, Iowa, is bucking that trend.
June 19, 2013

Post-Bloomberg: Will Innovation in NYC Dry Up?

A new report gives the next mayor of New York City a set of innovative reforms that have proven effective and scalable in other cities.
June 12, 2013

Do Cities Need Chief Resilience Officers to Combat Climate Change?

The Rockefeller Foundation is awarding $100 million to cities willing to create chief resilience officers to prepare for and recover from disasters, which have increased in frequency and intensity due to climate change.
May 15, 2013

Bike Lane Battles Heat Up

Cities like San Francisco and Chicago are running into resistance from drivers as they try to meet demand for more bike lanes.
May 9, 2013

Cities Ramp Up Data Projects

Better ways of using data can speed up solutions to urban issues. But a number of traditional problems stand in the way.
May 2, 2013

How the FCC Could Shape a Mobile Data-Driven Economy

The direction the agency takes under its next chairman will have major implications for governments, for growth and for innovation.
April 30, 2013

Complete Streets Policies Surge in Popularity

A new report says 488 states, counties and cities now have a plan that calls for streets that are "safe for all users of all ages and abilities."
April 30, 2013

Preservation Tax Credit’s Uncertain Future Puts Local History in Danger

The historic tax credit, which has helped preserve thousands of old buildings in cities across the country, is at risk of being eliminated.
April 2, 2013

The Benefits of Drones, Police on Pinterest, and a Successful IT Consolidation

News you should know about government and technology.
April 1, 2013

Tom Menino, Boston's 'Urban Mechanic' Mayor, Will Not Run for Re-Election

After five terms, the city's longest-serving mayor will leave office at the end of the year.
March 28, 2013

What Makes Grand Rapids So Grand?

The Michigan city is rebounding, and its secret to success includes partnerships and a regional agenda.
March 5, 2013

Cloud Computing in Texas, Chief Innovation Officers and Cyberthreats

News you should know about government and technology.
February 14, 2013

Is It Time to Revive Boarding Houses?

Over time, single room occupancy hotels became the housing of last resort for the poorest and most troubled segment of an urban population and have all but disappeared.
February 5, 2013

Transparency, Social Media and Gun Safety

4 ways technology can help make guns safer, 5 up-and-coming social media sites and more.
February 4, 2013

The Mayor Had Chutzpah

Ed Koch, the lively, contentious mayor of New York City who died at the age of 88 on Feb. 1, left an indelible mark on the city where he lived and worked for most of his life.
January 31, 2013

U.S. Cities Consider Capping Parking Spots

Cars are being kept out of popular pedestrian areas worldwide and the movement is coming stateside.
January 28, 2013

When Will the U.S. Build Another Subway?

High construction costs have made it virtually impossible to build new subways. But we still need them.
January 22, 2013

Chattanooga’s Internet Rise

Chattanooga, Tenn., has leapt to the forefront of cities with ultra high-speed broadband and has accomplished the feat in a surprisingly old-fashioned way.
January 15, 2013

New Funding Model Needed for Urban Parks

People love parks, but building a new urban park is expensive. It’s why so many cities rely heavily on public-private partnerships to build today’s urban parks.
December 10, 2012

San Jose Council Member Explains How City Fixed Its Pension System

San Jose has had its share of political troubles, from bribery to corruption, but nothing compared to the ticking pension time bomb.
December 3, 2012

Spotlight on Walkable Neighborhoods Gets Brighter

New policies and reports buttress economic and social importance of high-density cities.
November 30, 2012

The Great Convention Center Bailout

With convention attendance down 40 million people from a decade earlier, why are cities pouring money into building and expanding facilities?
November 21, 2012

Tired of Service Cuts, California Cities Raise Taxes

Have cities reached the limit when it comes to cutting services? That seems to be the case in California where voters passed 71 percent of local tax and bond measures.
November 12, 2012

11 Cities in Massachusetts Band Together to Solve Urban Ills

Can a collaborative network help 2nd tier cities?
October 31, 2012

Casino Developers Court Cities

The latest market for gaming isn’t in the suburbs anymore; it’s downtown, where developers are retrofitting existing buildings and changing the casino as we know it.
September 28, 2012

DIY Urbanism Makes Creative Use of Public Spaces

As the economy continues to take big bites out of arts and city planning budgets, this bottom-up approach is changing the look of some cities. Are governments ready to embrace these grassroots ideas?
August 31, 2012

Tree Population Falling in Cities

Despite their aesthetic, economic and safety benefits, trees are disappearing from city sidewalks. Why?
July 31, 2012

Saltville, Virginia: A Company Town Without a Company

In 1971, the Olin chemical company pulled out of Saltville, leaving the tiny town to fend for itself.
June 29, 2012

Chicago Brings Participatory Budgeting to the U.S.

Participatory budgeting, which started in Latin America, lets citizens determine spending priorities.
June 20, 2012

As Newspapers Shrink, Public Officials Worry

Recent cutbacks in daily print schedules will leave communities less informed.
May 31, 2012

With Americans Driving Less, What Will Happen to the Parking Lot?

Cities are finding creative uses for these environmentally unfriendly spaces.
April 30, 2012

City Hall Buildings Fall Victim to Local Budgets

The upkeep and restoration of older city halls often become casualties of budgets squeezed by the Great Recession.
March 30, 2012

Railroad Park Unites Birmingham, Alabama

The park, which is part of a trend of turning urban, industrial spaces into green space, pairs a functional railroad with an amphitheater, walking trails, grassy lawns and more.
February 29, 2012

Better Zoning through Breaking Old Codes

Form-based codes have emerged as a powerful tool for city planners who want to stop the sprawl that’s resulted from bad zoning rules.
January 31, 2012

Restored Streetcars Now Desirable

To the delight of many, old streetcars are being restored to their former glory and put back into transit service in New Orleans, Philadelphia and Portland.
January 31, 2012

Springfield, Mass., Wants to Become a Resurgent City

And it’s looking to tap the secret of other cities’ success in the post-manufacturing age.
January 1, 2012

Blame Phone Apps for Graffiti’s Reemergence

Technology has spurred a renewed interest in street art. Cash-strapped cities are combating the costly problem with smartphones.
December 30, 2011

Legislative Issues to Watch in 2012

These nine topics will shape debate in state legislatures in 2012.
November 30, 2011

The Trouble with Pedestrian Malls

Once popular, these car-free zones are slowly disappearing from the urban landscape.
November 30, 2011

Cybercrime Hits Small Towns

As more public employees use social media, mobile devices and cloud computing, cyberattacks are becoming a bigger concern. Is small-town America prepared?
November 30, 2011

6 Degrees of Cybercrime

Public officials should be on high alert for these six threats to cybersecurity.
October 31, 2011

Pensions Threaten to Sink Cities

Pension problems at the state level have been grabbing headlines for some time, but many experts believe the real trouble is at the local level.
September 30, 2011

Quincy, Mass., Rebuilds from Scratch

The city is clearing land to rebuild its downtown using a unique business model that some say could be a game changer.
September 30, 2011

Linear Parks Are Reshaping Urban Landscapes

Cities are turning abandoned freight train rail lines into parks that attract millions of visitors and investment dollars.
August 31, 2011

Houston’s Green Revolution

America’s oil capital embraces the sustainability movement.
July 29, 2011

Urban Areas Defy Crime Trends

Despite the recession, which usually spurs a rise in law-breaking, violent and property crimes have dropped for the fourth year in a row. How can this be?
June 30, 2011

America’s One and Only Personal Rapid Transit System

Morgantown, W.Va., is the only place in the world where riders can hop into cars and travel from point to point without stopping at other stations along the way.
June 30, 2011

Manufacturing Returns to Cities

Small urban manufacturers offer economic benefits to cities and could flourish with federal policy support.
May 31, 2011

Drivers Battle with Bikers for Road Space

When New York City replaced a car lane with a bike lane, it exposed the tricky problem of adding another form of transportation infrastructure to a city.
April 29, 2011

Cities' Access to Fresh Food Worsens

Higher maintenance costs in urban areas have led to a serious lack of grocery stores for city dwellers. States and cities are working on ways to get them back.
March 31, 2011

Seniors and the City

Most experts agree little is being done to make cities more age-friendly, but some cities are taking steps.
February 28, 2011

Are CIO-Led Organizations Endangered?

State and local governments are questioning the need for large, centralized, costly IT departments.
February 28, 2011

The Spreading Cloud

With governments facing fiscal pressures, IT services and applications delivered through computer servers may save on costs.
February 28, 2011

Motorists and Light Rail Struggle to Share the Road

City motorists need to remember that streets aren't just for cars anymore.
February 25, 2011

Players in Wisconsin’s Union Turmoil

The battle over public sector unions in Madison has thrust state legislators into the limelight. Meet some of the players in this slideshow.
February 3, 2011

South Carolina Columnist Wins Award for Public Service Journalism

Cindi Ross Scoppe, a columnist with The State, South Carolina's largest daily newspaper, is the recipient of the eighth annual Hal Hovey-Peter Harkness Award, presented by Governing for outstanding coverage of state and local government.
February 1, 2011

A Tour of New York City's Croton Water Filtration Plant

This photo gallery spotlights New York City's first and only water filtration plant, which will sit below a golf course in the Bronx.
February 1, 2011

The Rust Belt Has Arrived

Interest in cities that have fallen on hard times in the Midwest and Northeast brings new cachet to living and working in the Rust Belt.
January 1, 2011

Philadelphia's Open-Door Immigrant Policy

Immigrant populations remain a key source of economic development for inner cities.
December 23, 2010

8 Issues to Watch in 2011

These topics will capture the attention of state legislators in 2011.
December 1, 2010

The Nation's Evolving Cyber-Security Issue

Are states shoring up their defenses enough to protect critical data and computer infrastructure?
December 1, 2010

America's Oldest Town Hall Meeting

The 267-year-old tradition is alive and well in Pelham, Mass.
December 1, 2010

Managing Cities' Growing Volunteer Pools

Cities are using new grant money to install ‘chief volunteer officers.’
December 1, 2010

Slideshow: The Oldest Town Hall Building in America

Only Pelham, Mass., can lay claim to having the oldest town hall in continuous use for town meetings.
November 1, 2010

Could Renting Be the New American Dream?

Renting and returning to urban living -- where energy costs are lower -- could be in the offing.
October 7, 2010

Can Boston Call the 'Big Dig' a Success?

The mega infrastructure project was supposed to make the city a less congested, more livable place to work and live. It has succeeded.
October 6, 2010

Local Governments Consider Privatizing Public Libraries

Cities in California and elsewhere look to save money by outsourcing public library services.
October 1, 2010

Problems in Preserving a City's Downtown District

Downtowns, the soul of every city, are hanging on.
September 10, 2010

Online Tool Calculates Transportation Costs

A new online tool calculates average transportation costs, shedding light on the affordability and sustainability of a community.
September 2, 2010

Harrisburg Edges Closer to Bankruptcy

The city of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, moved closer to bankruptcy after announcing it is broke and will miss a bond payment.
September 1, 2010

Merging IT Systems Causes Problems for States and Localities

Why are states and localities having so much trouble merging their IT systems?
September 1, 2010

Dallas Covers Highway with Greenery

Cities are increasingly decking highways with piles of greenery and new development.
August 23, 2010

Budget Cuts Hit State Libraries

Public libraries aren't the only ones being targeted by budget cuts. State libraries, which serve as resources to legislatures and executives, are also just as vulnerable.

Libraries Lose More Than Time

Hammered by budget cuts, some libraries must cut more than just hours.

A Desire for More Streetcars

More than half a century after the streetcar's heyday, this transportation mode is poised to make a comeback.
June 1, 2010

The Gentrification Effect

Does the return of a neighborhood mean its culture and the poor have to leave?
May 25, 2010

Suburban Streetcar Desire

While researching the the streetcar's current popularity, the term "streetcar suburb" didn't mean much to this editor until he realized he lived in one.

Muni Threat: Cities Weigh Chapter 9

The economic slump is forcing debt-laden municipalities nationwide to consider filing for bankruptcy.

From Canals to Computers

Water power from Holyoke, Mass.'s surrounding canals will eventually power an $80 million high performance computing center.

Free Light Rail Rides

Portland, Ore., struggles to keep fare-free service alive.

Empty Lot Syndrome

Cities explore temporary uses for vacant lots.