‘Urban informatics’ can help cities run more efficiently

In their efforts to manage cities more effectively and efficiently, many local administrations are turning to “urban informatics”—the use of information and communications technology to better understand metropolitan needs, challenges, and opportunities. This report highlights research, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, to determine which applications of urban informatics were being piloted around the world and what type of impact these efforts were having. Based on an analysis of 200 deployments, applications have been grouped into three general categories: using existing city data to improve service delivery, building new data for better operational and planning decisions, and increasing public engagement to improve problem solving. In this McKinsey on Society report, each category is discussed and explained with a few examples.