City of Dubuque Video Transcript
Slate: How do you lead change to make things better in a smarter planet?
Slate: Dubuque Iowa is working together across public and private organizations to drive change in a partnership with IBM.
Narrator: In 2005, Roy Buol ran for Mayor of Dubuque Iowa on a platform of “engaging citizens as partners,” and what he heard from thousands of citizens was a consistent theme surrounding water quality, recycling, green space, public transit, cultural vitality, accessibility, and downtown revitalization.
Narrator: In 2009, Mayor Buol was instrumental in the launch of “Smarter Sustainable Dubuque,” a unique public/private partnership between the City of Dubuque and IBM Research, the division of IBM responsible for its “Smarter Planet” campaign.
David Lyons: Dubuque has a wonderful collaborative atmosphere and it was built first out of necessity in the 1980s with very high unemployment rates and a declining traditional industry. They had to pull together in the public/private sector formed a series of communication channels that allowed them to move quickly and flexibly. But what was built out of necessity was kept because of opportunities. New opportunities and markets, new products, new collaborations led to growth and led to success.
Mayor Buol: when I think about smarter, sustainable Dubuque I think of smart as giving individuals and businesses the real time information that they need to make intelligent decisions about resource use and management and you know I think it will change the whole paradigm about how we think about resources and their depletion and their conservation
Rick Dickenson: In 1984 we had unemployment which was the highest in the United States at 23%. And today, we’re in a even more severe recession nationally and globally and Dubuque is a shining star with an unemployment rate that’s less than a state average; which is significantly less than the national average with folks like Forbes and Moody’s saying that this community is projected to have some of the best job growth, in fact the top 10 communities in the United States in the next 5 years—and that’s happened because of elected talent, hired talent, and of people and a private sector that has supported that talent.
What did it take for Dubuque to become the thriving, sustainable community it is today?
It began with building constituency
Mayor Buol: when I was elected mayor in 2005 part of my platform was I believe that you know we needed to create a sustainable community. I told my city council colleagues after I was elected that cities that commit to sustainability now, which was back in 2006, will have a decided advantage over those that don’t in the near future . . .
Cindy Steinhauser: I come back from the Council meeting and sustainability is identified as one of our top priorities from their goal setting and I have to try and define that. And I remember going into the City Manager and saying, “You know, this isn’t something we should define. This is something that the community should define. The directive came from our policy decision makers who the citizens elected. We really need a process where they take…give us the definition and then we can decide what our work should be.”
Cori Burbach: So the business community is working with government in a way that I never saw in any other community before I came here. And there is I think a belief from citizens that they feel like certainly there’s instances when they’re challenging what the government is doing and I love seeing that because they feel like they can come to us and say here’s what we think you should be doing and they feel like they’re involved in government. But they also I think have a real stake in the outcomes, whether it’s government activity, business activity, what the school district is doing and that’s what fosters that community wide collaboration.
Teri Hawks Goodman: I think one of the, you know, greatest challenges today is working across different sectors of the population, both in the community, but also different levels of government—between local government, state government and the federal government. And as a rule of thumb, I try to find a common denominator. In my own life I think I try to find, you know, what it is that motivates us and what our common experience tells us and where it leads us."
Rick Dickenson: And in…and in a community that’s small enough that you can really do some unique experiments that can be replicable, yet it’s a large enough community that it…that it has application elsewhere. So if it works here, it’s…it’s…it can work someplace else. We’re small enough to get it to work; we’re large enough to be credible to suggest that others can do it even if they’re larger than we are.
and what works for cities also works for organizations of all sizes...
Forbes ranked Dubuque 1st in the nation among mid-sized cities for projected job growth. (April 2010)
9th among the 392 largest U.S. for "Employment Growth" based on 2010-2012. (July 2011) Moody's Economy.com
Dubuque was ranked 15th in the nation in Forbes' annual "Best Small Places for Business and Careers" (September 2010)
Dubuque ranks #5 for resiliency. Building Resilient Regions, Institute of Governmental Studies the University of California Berkeley
Named one of the 10 "Smartest Cities on the Planet." Dubuque was ranked #8 and the only U.S. city to be recognized. (December 2010) FastCompany
By monitoring water and power consumption and traffic patterns, the City of Dubuque improved its sustainability and rebuilt its community.
- Instrumented: Smart meters measure and transmit household water and power usage, while a wide variety of other remote devices—including smart phones and RFID systems—monitor transportation patterns across Dubuque.
- Interconnected: Citizens have access to a 360-degree view of their households’ consumption activities using analysis of remotely gathered water and power consumption patterns
- Intelligent: Transportation planners use advance analytics to optimize the city’s bus fleet and bus schedules based on underlying travel patterns. Smart meters give citizens and businesses the means to intelligently manage their water and power usage.