Portland wants to be America’s most prominent smart city

The very definition of smart city has changed for Portland. “We don’t really talk much about technology anymore. What we talk [about] now is data, community engagement around data and technology,” Martin said. The mission of Smart City PDX has also shifted. Martin and his team are more focused on building data systems that help the city government better manage and analyze information internally. Moreover, the team is investing time and effort into talking to communities and building the trust necessary for the city to collect data.

Recently, Martin’s team built a data system to analyze and show how the $208 million fund the city received from the American Rescue Plan, also called the Covid-19 Stimulus Package, is allocated. “It’s not as sexy as original smart cities, in that it’s not about fancy technologies. It’s really about using data as a component of solving problems to make Portland a more livable city,” Martin said.