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The remote-everything demands of the pandemic era forced many cities to dust off and improve their digital services. 

The remote-everything demands of the pandemic era forced many cities to dust off and improve their digital services. 

Illustration: Andrea Chronopoulos

CityLab
Government

How Civic Tech Got a Pandemic Upgrade

For many cities, Covid-19 was a catalyst for boosting their digital presence and shifting services online. Here’s what’s driving municipal technology’s much-needed reboot. 

Corrected

Cyd Harrell was driving through San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park on a chilly day in June 2011, when her seven-year-old daughter asked why the sprinklers were on. It was a waste of water, she said, and they had to do something.

“You can’t say no to your kid,” Harrell says. “But I had no idea at that time who I would call about that.”