Louisville’s Smart City Workshop

Ed Blayney
Dec 12, 2018 · 4 min read

Around the world, there has been a discussion about the “Smart City”. What it is, what it isn’t, and what it could be. The reality is the idea of a Smart City will be different in each community, and that to build a truly smart city, it will take lots of conversations with a variety of stakeholders. In Louisville Metro Government, we have batted around our ideas on the subject for a while, but we had not taken our thoughts to or heard from our community about what they want from their Smart City.

This September, we changed that at the PNC Gigabit Experience Center in the Russell Neighborhood. We had over 150 attendees for a day-long session that both shared information about Smart City best practices from around the world and learned directly from our government employees and the community how they thought Smart City concepts could best be applied to our local challenges.


For the one day session, we chose three focus areas based on the work we already have in-progress and where we thought we could have the biggest impact with our Smart City work.


Challenge Statements

Challenge Statements for Smart City Conference

How We Ran The Conference

Because the idea of Smart City is relatively new, we started the day with an information session about best practices from around the world, and some of the pilot projects that we have been working on. We wanted to make sure that people felt informed about the Smart City without overloading them with presentations. As we mentioned before, the real purpose was to have them engage directly with us about how they thought we could apply our Smart City work to our city’s biggest challenges.

Breakout Sessions

After talking about best practices and sharing what we are doing locally, we wanted to get our participants involved with the process. To do this, we asked them to self-select one of the focus areas tracks to follow for the day. Then, we asked them to working in groups of 8 to 10 to start with our big challenge statements and, through a iterative process, end up with an achievable Smart City project or program that could move the needle on a piece of the overarching problem.

  1. Focus Area Briefs

The breakout sessions started with an overview of the challenge area. We provided some facts and figures in our pre-work, but this allowed us to refresh our participants memory and give them the opportunity to engage with subject matter experts directly.

2. Right Sizing the Problem

Understanding that our challenge areas were too big to take on in one bite, we asked groups of 8 to 10 people to use the Bloomberg Right Sizing the Problem Methodology to pare down the problem into something that could be solved in 2 to 3 years.

3. Generating Potential Solutions

After making the problem more manageable, we asked groups to generate two potential Smart City projects or programs that would make progress on their right-sized problem

4. Proposing a solution

Out of those two ideas, we told them to select one and flesh out some of the details.

And, here is what we ended up with!


word cloud generated from the break out sessions artifacts

After going through the process, each group of 8 to 10 people proposed a Smart City solution to some of our community’s biggest challenges. In total, we ended up with 12 Smart City project/program proposals. Each focus area had some Smart City themes that stuck out along with some desired outcomes for their proposals.


  • Crowdsourcing
  • Civic Tech
  • Data Sharing
  • MaaS
  • AV

  • Improved infrastructure for multi-modal transportation
  • Make it easier for people to ride transit
  • Better understanding of local transportation patterns

Public Safety

  • Data-driven decision making
  • Data Warehouse
  • Data Sharing
  • Data Governance
  • Data Analysis
  • Open Data
  • Privacy

  • Increased collaboration
  • Increased public awareness & transparency

Digital Inclusion

  • Lack of access
  • Lack of knowledge about available tools

  • Public Awareness
  • Community Building
  • Increasing equity

Next Steps

Over the next few months, we will incorporate this information into our Smart City plan and start to work with local stakeholders to refine it before releasing it to the public in 2019. This session taught us a lot about what the community wants from our Smart City and we look forward to working with our residents to build Louisville’s version of the Smart City.

Louisville CIT

The official publication for Louisville Metro Government’s Office of Civic Innovation and Technology (CIT) in Louisville, KY

Ed Blayney

Written by

@OPI2Lou #iteam project manager, #localgov, #smartcity, #mobility,#digitalinclusion, #civictech, wannabe policy wonk #Veteran #RollTide #TarHeel

Louisville CIT

The official publication for Louisville Metro Government’s Office of Civic Innovation and Technology (CIT) in Louisville, KY

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