With the introduction of a new data clearinghouse website, the city of Boston wants to help prospective tenants make more informed renting decisions. RentSmart Boston, developed through a collaboration between the city’s Department of Neighborhood Development and the Department of Innovation and Technology, has compiled data from 311 service requests and the city's Inspectional Services Division to give users a report on previous issues with the property they are considering. The reports include housing, building, or enforcement violations, and sanitation and civic maintenance requests from up to the past five years. Though available to everyone, the site particularly hopes to reach the more than 150,000 college students that arrive in Boston each fall.
Recognizing that the persistent gap in reading performance between disadvantaged students and wealthier ones may be due to the deceptively simple problem of poor eyesight, Baltimore has been spearheading an effort to ensure that a greater number of its students receive eye exams and glasses if necessary. Since May 2016, thousands of Baltimore students have been assisted, free of charge, through Vision for Baltimore, a three-year collaboration between nonprofit organization Vision To Learn, the city of Baltimore, and Johns Hopkins University, in which 150 public schools will be visited and over 60,000 students will be screened through a mobile clinic. Data that officials expect to receive from an accompanying study could further categorize some reading deficiencies as a public health issue.
To help strengthen cybersecurity for Los Angeles businesses and residents alike, the city has launched the LA Cyber Lab, a public-private partnership that will disseminate information and share intelligence on cyber threats between the government and local companies. The first phase of the lab will share data on the one billion security-related events the city’s Integrated Security Operations Center detects each day. During the second phase, the lab will launch a "Mutual Information Exchange" where cybersecurity data can be shared confidentially and without identifiable or proprietary information, so that all member interests will remain secure. In the third phase, the lab will develop an incubator of cybersecurity startups and vendors to test their products. The lab is one of the first cybersecurity initiatives of its kind.
An increasing number of cities in the US and abroad are proactively managing their nighttime economies, balancing the need to regulate them with the desire to promote and encourage their growth. Some cities, like Iowa City, Iowa, have created the position of “night mayor” tasked with coordinating and managing the city after dark, setting policy, and serving as a liaison between night businesses and their customers, residents, and the daytime government. In Florida, Orlando recently created a Nighttime Economy Project Manager and Fort Lauderdale is launching an 11-person Nighttime Economy Team. New York City has also established a “nightlife ambassador” position. Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Amsterdam, and London have addressed their nighttime economies in similar ways over the past several years.
Library patrons at one city library in India can now check out people, not just books. Under the initiative at Tagore Memorial Library in the city of Vijayawada, patrons can pick participants of the human library from a catalogue to engage with in conversations and share stories on a one-on-one basis. A goal of the human library is to challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue. In addition, persons who have difficulty reading can still learn from these conversational “check-outs.” Four other human libraries are currently in the country, and the concept, which originated in Denmark in 2000, has also spread to other countries.