Global Technology

AI and the council: Case studies and resources for local government


Shanghai,China-Feb.17th 2024: Google Gemini, OpenAI ChatGPT and Microsoft Copilot app icons on screen. Assorted AI mobile apps

Curated case studies and resources on how local governments are using the latest developments in artificial intelligence to streamline their processes and better support their residents. Examples this week come from Taiwan, Australia, Canada and England.

Have your own example to share, get in touch!

Policy innovation and inspiration examples from the local government sector

AUSTRALIA: Sydney expedites application processes with AI
The City of Sydney has this year pioneered an AI-based review process for Complying Development Certificates. The city council scheme utilised an AI-based e-planning tool that could quickly identify non-compliant application segments, which could then provide immediate feedback to applicants. The city previously experienced inconsistencies and delays in its traditional approach, but with the AI-driven method applicants received their prelimary assessment more swiftly, in turn boosting the efficiency of Sydney’s planning department.
The Mandarin

CANADA: Predicting and preventing homelessness with AI
In 2020, the City of London, Ontario, launched its own AI tool to predict and prevent homelessness. The Chronic Homelessness Artificial Intelligence machine learning model forecasts the probability that an individual in the city’s shelter system becomes chronically homeless within the next six months (remaining in shelters for more than 180 days a year). In a trial six months before its launch, the model saw a 93% success rate in predicting when someone would become chronically homeless, and met or exceeded that rate when it launched in August 2020 amid the Covid pandemic. Using this data, the city can prioritise safe housing and access to health services people most at risk of chronic homelessness may need.
Reuters / Cities Today

TAIWAN: AI street lights use motion cameras to save energy
In the Qingpu area of Taoyuan City, Taiwan, local authorities have implemented an AI-powered street light solution to improve energy efficiency. The street lights now house AI cameras, which are integrated into the smart street lights to monitor the flow of people and traffic. For street lights where no vehicle or person has passed for more than ten minutes, the light will automatically dim by 50%, which will help reduce electricity use by around 12%. Street lighting accounts for about 40% of total energy consumption.
Smart Cities Dive

ENGLAND: Hampshire uses programmatic advertising to almost double residents’ interest in fostering
Programmatic advertising uses targeted messages based on audience behaviour, and can be adopted by councils to use factors like location, income and interest to personalise messaging for individual users and deliver it more strategically. One such council was Hampshire County Council, who sought to galvanise residents to become foster carers in their community, where over 1,600 children are in council care at any time. The council wanted to increase the number of residents in the “consideration phase” and the number wanting to make the first steps of an application. The council launched a wide advertising campaign, in part using targeted in-home adverts to groups most likely to become foster carers, including solo retirees. As a result, enquiry levels almost doubled.
LG Comms


Resources on AI regulation, use and best practice

Old file folders books

Resources: Algorithmic Transparency Recording Standard Hub
This collection of UK Government resources is designed to help public sector organisations provide clear information about their algorithmic tools and why they’re using them.

Briefing: AI: Consultation on a pro-innovation approach to Artificial Intelligence regulation
This briefing outlines a response from the LGA, Solace and Socitm to the UK Government’s AI White Paper. The white paper sets out initial proposals for a pro-innovation regulatory framework for AI. The response is broadly supportive of the proposed approach but highlights some concerns, including the need for further clarity on the definition of AI, the potential impact on public services, and the importance of avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach.

Report: City of Boston Interim Guidelines for Using Generative AI
These recommended guidelines into generative AI, developed by the City of Boston, address the use of large language models, highlighting potential risks and suggesting ways to mitigate them. The guidelines focus on transparency, privacy, bias, accountability, and safety, encouraging collaboration between various stakeholders and calling for a principled and responsible approach to AI deployment.

Resource: The Atlas of Urban AI
The Atlas of Urban AI is a crowdsourced repository of AI initiatives that have been developed and implemented in cities worldwide and that are aligned with the Global Observatory of Urban AI’s ethical principles. It aims to recognise the efforts of automatization and digitalisation in cities, and become a focus point for researchers, local policymakers, and the general public interested in AI.

Video: How are cities around the world utilising artificial intelligence?
A short video round-up of case studies of cities’ approaches to making the most of AI, including San Francisco, Singapore, Barcelona and Amsterdam.


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