Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton and Williamsburg honored for being top digital cities in U.S.

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – The Center for Digital Government honored Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Hampton and Williamsburg in its 2017 Digital Cities Survey, which ranks the most digitally accepting cities across the United States.

Williamsburg placed fifth in the U.S. of populations less than 75,000 and Norfolk placed third and Hampton placed tenth in cities with populations less than 250,000.

Virginia Beach placed first in cities with populations less than 500,000 people, but was also ranked second over all behind Los Angeles, California.

“This award validates the focus of our work; to embrace an information technology strategy that provides the support framework for customer-focused services, leading to a well-managed government, transparency and engaged citizens,” said Steven DeBerry, Norfolk’s CIO.

Norfolk city officials say they were recognized for a variety of technology strategies and innovations including developing a smart city strategy that informs future innovations, implementing an Information Technology strategic plan that supports the City’s strategic priorities, and expanding fiber infrastructure to provide high-speed internet to critical facilities that house public safety, utilities, libraries and other service providers.

“Winning a top three Digital Cities designation is especially gratifying since we are only in our second year of executing a new IT strategic plan to support the City’s strategic priorities.  Our focus this year was on rebuilding infrastructure, updating enterprise financial and budget systems, improving our cybersecurity systems and supporting transparency and resilience efforts,” added DeBerry.

Williamsburg also was excited to receive an award for its digital improvements.

“Our inclusion on this prestigious list for the fifth year in a row is a testament to a supportive City Council, citizenry and an engaged staff,” says Mark Barham, the City’s Director of Information Technology. “As an organization and as a department, we strive to use technology in meaningful and thoughtful ways to improve employee efficiency, increase access to information and, ultimately, improve the lives of our citizens.”

Barham noted that Digital Cities commended several recent technology upgrades, notably the new monthly departmental operating reports, the City’s use of open data and performance dashboards and the and the addition of new and innovative technologies such as Facebook Live.

This award is based on a survey conducted annually for the past 16 years by the Center for Digital Government, a national research and advisory institute focusing on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government.

Each year the survey has a different focus; the focus this year was on the following elements of a technology strategy: Open Data/Transparency, Cybersecurity, Connectivity (broadband and Wi-Fi), Efficiency, Resilience, Innovation and Strategic Planning.

“This year’s leading digital cities are leveraging technology to connect disadvantaged citizens with critical information and services, promote citizen inclusion in important government processes and share government data with the public,” said Teri Takai, executive director of the Center for Digital Government. “Thanks to the efforts of these innovative cities, citizens can now meaningfully interact with city government more easily than in any other time in history. Congratulations to the winners!”

In all eight cities from Virginia were honored.

All cities ranked on list for most digitally advanced were: 

  • Virginia Beach: Ranked first in population category 250,000 – 499,999
  • Norfolk: Ranked third in population category 125,000 – 249,999
  • Alexandria and Hampton: BOTH Ranked tied tenth in population category 125,000 – 249,999
  • Lynchburg: Ranked first in population category 75,000 – 124,999
  • Roanoke: Ranked tied fourth in population category 75,000 – 124,999
  • Williamsburg: Ranked fifth in population category Up to 75,000
  • Salem: Ranked tenth in population category Up to 75,000