Government and city dashboards
 Governing performance
Both governments and cities, as well as large organisations, need mechanisms to help check how well they are performing in different areas and with certain functions. In many cases, this performance is translated to a series of key performance indicators that represent short, medium, and long-term goals and the measures that help assess success or progress in the different areas.
The simplest of these indicators, traditionally used at the national level might be for example gross domestic product (GDP) which is one indicator of economic performance. The UN Sustainable Development Goals at the other end of the spectrum might be considered an example of a wider set of measures that are applicable at the national and global scale, covering not only economic growth but also social and environmental issues.
These goals are underpinned by an extensive and very specific list of performance indicators that can be measured at the national level which in turn often rely on the gathering and collation of municipal and city-level data to be aggregated for country-wide assessments. These broader themed but more specific indicators might cover income and employment, housing and homelessness, access to health care and emergency services, sanitation and air quality, safety, education, lighting etc and will be monitored by city authorities and political parties.
 Digitising updates
A dashboard is a means of bringing together data at regular intervals so it can be assessed jointly by interested parties. Dashboards are often monthly, quarterly or yearly reports but in their truest sense, with the possibilities of digitization and the definition of smart cities, they can be live, updated in real time and tracked through control and command centres, which feed dara from services such as emergency response or public transport times, air quality, traffic and so into dashboards.
In order to do this digitally, and allow different digital applications for the various departments to be understood governing bodies may use a variety of applicable programme interfaces (API's) to bring data together.
In some cases, certain aspects of a dashboard may be available for public viewing, whilst others may be accessible, only to governing bodies. Cities may also use benefit schemes to encourage citizens to share their own data to help achieve targets where data exchange is two way. For example, citizens may report whether pedestrian walkways are damaged or share their routes through the city via smartphone apps, in turn, the governing body might improve repair response times and the safety of walkways or improve accessibility across popular routes.
- Keeping the activities of governance up to date, supported and evidenced by data, which helps inform better governance decisions.
- If carried out on a nationwide scale it gives better quality data that can be aggregated up to national level reporting.
- Keeping a governing body accountable to its citizens and vice versa.
- Keeping citizens up to date whilst also communicating and engaging them to be active in their community.
- Giving governing bodies the ability to show evidenced progress to citizens and improve citizens' confidence in their governing body.
- Open data can foster a democratic and transparent approach to governance keeping lines of communication open between governments and the communities they serve.
- The above is transparency is heavily dependent on what information is tracked, for what purposes, and with whom it is shared. The specific differences here can result in the opposite of a democratic approach.
- There can be a significant technological investment required to capture the appropriate data.
- Encouraging citizens to share data and engage with the dashboard or governing body often faces socio-technical barriers.
- Privacy and data ownership where governing bodies may gather data though citizens have not explicitly agreed.
- Data gathered may be 'interpretable' in different ways.
In the 2010s, Bristol started its Open Data policy which lead to the 'Our Data Bristol' and 'Bristol One city' initiative, which gives open access to a number of dashboards based on data collected by Bristol City Council, these also relate back to the sustainable development goals as well as a variety of other more localised indicators.
Below are some of the themes that can be openly viewed in a dashboard format:
- Transport and streets: Parking and road issues, cycling, traffic surveys, electric vehicle charging points, roadworks and street lights.
- Health and social care: Life expectancy, children looked after by Bristol City Council and causes of premature death.
- Geography and areas: Data by area of Bristol, including no cold-calling zones, evacuation zones, wards and postcodes.
- Council and democracy: Election results, wards, polling districts, council pay and structure, council spending over £500
- Environment: Air quality, waste, parks and green spaces, rivers and flooding.
- Community and housing: Quality of life, types of housing and tenure, foodbanks and public toilets.
- Planning and land use: Neighbourhood planning areas, council housing and land ownership.
- Population: Population estimates, equalities and deprivation statistics.
- Energy: Solar and wind power, fuel poverty and energy consumption.
- Leisure and tourism: Parks and green spaces, cycling and sports facilities.
- Business and economy: Jobs, unemployment and small business.
- Education: Participation in education.
- Connectivity and internet: Broadband and wifi coverage.
- Safety: Public safety and crime.
 External references
- Types of city.
- Chief digital officer CDO.
- Better infrastructure will lead us to a better future.
- Cities as systems - BRE Solutions for urban environments.
- Digital twins.
- Digital building dashboard tech on the horizon.
- Engineering Smart Cities.
- Global smart cities market.
- How can cities become more resilient?
- Internet of things.
- Measuring the success of smart cities.
- Open data.
- Smart city.
- Types of city.
- UK Digital Strategy.