Startup-land is populated with vaguely named denizens like “data ninjas”, “digital sherpas” and “chief evangelists.” However, the fast-growing smart cities space is adding new C-suite roles to the executive roster that actually have meaning.
A significant new addition to city executive councils around the globe is the Chief Data Officer, who can be found in such cities as Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and San Diego.
The proliferation of this new role is thanks to the greater presence of Internet of Things (IoT) technology where torrents of new data need to be harnessed. As well, more cities are seeing value in furthering open data strategies that raise complex technical and privacy issues.
“The chief data officer would likely be responsible for championing and driving the use of data throughout every department in the city and for breaking down the silos of data, ensuring that data becomes part of everyone’s responsibility,” said TM Forum vice president Carl Piva. “Indeed, with the introduction of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) legislation and an increasing push for a data-driven approach in cities, this role is likely to grow in importance.”
Another new role is the Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) who is responsible for strategies that bolster a city’s ability to cope with unforeseen events that have widespread urban impact.
The CRO not only plans for such natural catastrophes as hurricanes and climate change, but human-made stresses like terrorism, economic inequality and racial strife.
Cities with Chief Resilience Officers include New York, Boston, New Orleans and Miami.
Meanwhile, cities that are incorporating more active-transportation strategies have prioritized projects to make the urban space more bicycle friendly. And so is born the Chief Bicycle Officer.
Meet your Chief Bicycle Officer
Atlanta appointed Becky Katz its Chief Bicycle Officer last year as the city vowed to get serious with its two-wheeled strategy.
Katz’s role involves project development, public outreach, keeping new development cycle-friendly and implementing the city’s Relay Bike Share program.
And for those that like to burn the midnight oil, an increasing number of citizens and tourists desire 24/7 access to such amenities as restaurants, offices, libraries and night clubs. And with an increasingly globalized workforce, smart cities must accommodate chunks of its population who work and play at night.
However, the traditional city is designed around the daylight hours, with the nighttime often a lawless afterthought to city hall.
To bridge this diurnal divide we meet the Night Mayor, who reigns over a metropolis’ hours of darkness. Their job is essentially in keeping the peace between the day-oriented population, city hall and the elements of the public and business who prefer the nighttime hours.
Such cities as Paris, Amsterdam and Zurich have already installed night mayors to keep the lively wee hours in harmony with the 9-5 world.