According to UCLG, the Global Network of Cities, Local and Regional Governments, there were 503 metropolises and 8923 intermediary cities (above a population of 50,000) globally as of 2015. They expect 70% of the world’s population will be living in urban settlements by 2050, so local governments need to act now to make their cities resilient and more efficient to meet this level of growth.

Mapbox Cities works with cities to identify today’s urban challenges and build data-driven open source solutions.

Open source is an important tool to help city governments scale and share learnings and solutions with other cities. Open source offers a platform not only to share between cities, but also for civic innovators and engaged citizens to contribute to their city’s efforts. Local governments can adapt an open source tool to match their needs on a project, such as varying data sources or performance metrics. Collaborating with other cities on open source reduces the overhead cost on the initial development costs for cities each time the tool is replicated.

Our Mapbox Cities partner Bloomington, Indiana, is a great case study. With just two developers on the IT Services team, they built and continue to maintain several open source tools. As Rick Dietz, Bloomington’s Director Information & Technology Services explains:

Tens of thousands of government units shouldn’t be paying tens of thousands of times over for the very same software systems doing the very same tasks. City governments aren’t competing with one another. We should be collaborating more through software to meet the collective needs we all share.

As a result, Bloomington’s 311 tools for civic issue reporting and publishing incident data have been picked up and reused by municipalities across North America and Europe.

Are you working for local government? Keep an eye out for updates on Mapbox Cities to see what we’re building with our three partner cities, Melbourne, West Midlands Combined Authority in the UK, and Bloomington, Indiana.

We have more content on open source for the public sector in the first part of our Mapbox Cities handbook. Sign up for Mapbox Cities news to receive it by email later this week.