Giving Compass' Take:

• Government Technology profiles several organizations that are helping cities across the country build their digital infrastructure and keep up with 21st century demands.

• What can nonprofits involved in urban planning learn from the success of the initiatives listed here? What will it take to create better public-private collaboration in the smart city space?

• Here's why cities should consider a chief digital officer.

For city governments, getting the most out of their digital transformations requires planning, engagement with residents and the ability to measure the impact of their investments. But because of limited resources and the demands of their day-to-day work, sometimes cities can be reactive to grant announcements or vendor pilot projects, leading to disjointed efforts ... Here are profiles of several organizations having a significant impact on how smart cities are developing across the country.

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities

Part of philanthropist and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities Initiative, What Works Cities was launched in April 2015 to enhance the use of data and evidence-based decision-making in cities. The What Works Cities initiative is a three-year, $42 million effort to support mayors and local leaders in 100 mid-sized U.S. cities with technical assistance, access to expertise and peer-to-peer learning opportunities.

Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab

Smart city efforts often involve using sensors and connected IoT devices to bring more efficiency to lighting, transportation or public safety. Yet following a broader definition, the Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab (GPL) helps governments get smarter in several other ways — with performance improvement, procurement and results-driven contracting.

John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Although the nonprofit Knight Foundation has been funding civic technology projects for some time, it jumped into the smart city space in 2017 when it announced $1.2 million in grant support for six cities to explore how the Internet of Things (IoT) can be deployed responsibly and equitably. Akron, Ohio; Boston; Detroit; Miami; Philadelphia; and San Jose, Calif., all received planning grants.

Read the full article about the organizations making a big impact on smart cities by David Raths at Government Technology.