Innovating Social Solutions: How Denver’s Data Scientists are Leveraging Cloud Technology Partners to Preserve Communities

Learn about how the City of Denver is leveraging data to preserve the culture and character of its neighborhoods while fighting the displacement of its residents.
December 20, 2023
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Across the public sector, government organizations are harnessing the power of cloud data to address some of the most pressing challenges facing their communities. By taking advantage of the flexibility, scalability, and interoperability benefits of platforms like the Snowflake Data Cloud, public agencies are more equipped than ever before to make informed decisions and effect meaningful change backed by quality analytics. 

One such organization is Denver’s unique Neighborhood Equity & Stabilization (NEST) division, whose data scientists have been hard at work leveraging the city’s data to preserve the unique culture and character of neighborhoods at risk of displacement. By analyzing and visualizing complex data sets, shareable across a Snowflake cloud model, these experts are able to predict and prevent potential gentrification, ultimately saving communities from being erased by rapid development. 

This powerful illustration of how data can impact the public sector is undeniable. As the tech industry continues to evolve, it is essential for cities like Denver to stay ahead of the curve and utilize data to its full potential in order to create a better future for all.

The Rise of Cloud Technology in the Public Sector

The City and County of Denver’s journey to adopt cloud technologies started four years ago when it became evident that the city’s existing technology model could not meet the analytics demands of the Technology Services (TS) department’s agency partners. 

“They were looking for solutions that could offer near real-time reporting capabilities to make decisions, while we were still reliant on scheduled reports that would run overnight,” says Paul Kresser, Deputy Chief Information Officer at City and County of Denver and a key figure in the adoption process. 

Frustration was mounting on both sides as it could take weeks for TS to address an agency’s request for access to data sets. Compounding the problem was a general lack of knowledge about available data assets due to the absence of a data inventory or catalog. As these challenges continued to snowball, the need for a scalable, elastic cloud solution became glaringly apparent. The vision of what that solution would look like was also clear: a one-stop shop for the 200-plus analysts in the organization to access, analyze, and share their data. 

Through the deployment of cloud technologies and an enterprise data hub, the City and County of Denver has since made significant progress in delivering on this vision. It is leveraging the power of data for good, utilizing cloud technology to enable data-driven decision-making and address pressing challenges in local communities. With this innovative approach, Denver is now positioning itself as a leader in the public sector, demonstrating the immense transformative potential cloud technology partners can bring to the table.

How the City of Denver Tackles Displacement in Denver Neighborhoods through Data Science

In recent years, Denver has experienced significant growth and development, but this progress has come at a cost. Many long-time residents and communities are being pushed out due to rising costs and rapid changes in their neighborhoods. To address this pressing issue, the City of Denver has set an ambitious goal to reduce displacement by 50% in the next five years. And to achieve this, they are leveraging the power of data. By using data-driven approaches, the city aims to identify neighborhoods at risk of displacement and develop targeted strategies to prevent it. Key to these initiatives is the development of the NEST Index, which provides the department with a transparent, consistent, and objective process for identifying priority neighborhoods based on 10 key social, economic, and business indicators.

“We believe that data science is a powerful tool in addressing displacement and creating more equitable communities,” says a spokesperson for the City of Denver. They are not just stopping at identifying at-risk neighborhoods, either. The city is also using data to track the impact of displacement on residents, such as the number of households displaced and the demographics of those affected. This valuable information helps inform their strategies and interventions to mitigate the negative consequences of displacement.

But the City of Denver knows that data alone is not enough. They are actively working with community organizations and stakeholders to develop solutions that are based on the data and meet the unique needs of each neighborhood. By combining data science with community engagement, they are fostering a collaborative and inclusive approach to tackling displacement. The City of Denver is committed to using data for good and creating more equitable communities for all residents. 

By harnessing the power of data science, they are paving the way for innovative solutions that can make a lasting impact. As the city continues to evolve and face new challenges, it remains steadfast in its dedication to leveraging data to shape a better future for everyone.

The Role of Cloud Technology Partners in Enabling Social Good Initiatives

By harnessing the power of the cloud, government organizations like NEST, Denver Economic Development & Opportunity (DEDO), and the City and County of Denver proper are able to leverage data to make a positive impact on their communities in ways that would have been unthinkable using legacy data platforms. Cloud technology provides the infrastructure and scalability needed to process and analyze massive amounts of data faster and more cost effectively, allowing organizations to uncover insights and develop targeted strategies to address social issues with targeted, data-driven solutions. 

With cloud technology, government agencies can access real-time data, breaking free from the limitations of traditional reporting methods. This allows for faster decision-making and the ability to proactively respond to rapidly-shifting demographics and other public service challenges. Cloud platforms also offer secure data storage and collaboration capabilities, ensuring that relevant stakeholders across multiple government and non-government organizations can access and contribute to the development of social good initiatives.

Looking to the Future: How Data Can Continue to Shape Our Communities

Denver’s ongoing NEST initiatives are a fantastic example of how government organizations can continue to leverage data for good, shaping our communities and creating a better future for all. With the power of the cloud at their fingertips, government agencies at every tier have the opportunity to drive innovation, address societal challenges, and build more equitable communities. 

While public sector organizations often trail behind their private sector counterparts when it comes to modernizing their data stack and driving innovation, cities like Denver are an important reminder that this doesn’t need to be the case. By leveraging cloud technologies like the Snowflake Government and Education Data Cloud to extract actionable insights from their data faster than ever before, government organizations across the country can help foster a future where data-driven decisions can shape a better world for all.

The good news is that they don’t have to do it alone. Not only are Hakkoda’s Public Sector teams 100% SnowPro certified, they also bring together expertise from across the modern data stack and deep industry experience from the private sector space. That means we don’t just know your data, we also understand the things you want to do with it.

Ready to get in the cloud and contribute to building a better, more data-driven world? Let’s talk today.  

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