In 2021, the residents of New York City relied on technology unlike ever before to ensure equitable access to work, school, and daily life, according to a year-end compilation released by the Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (CTO).
The 2021 Impact Report detailed the city’s steps to expand equitable technology that serves all New Yorkers. For example, the NYC CTO office explored how technology can help ensure sufficient heat in the winter, provide young people with key mental health resources, connect communities of isolated older adults, and enable evacuations in the face of potentially fatal flooding.
“We made it easier than ever to access government services, such as applying for affordable housing, finding and securing essential business permits. We also drove far-reaching transformation, directing the largest investment in closing the digital divide by any city in American history,” wrote NYC CTO John Paul Farmer in the report.
The report divided the CTO’s work into four pillars: digital services, universal broadband, inclusive innovation, and emerging technologies. It also highlighted the most important projects at the CTOS’s office, including a $157 million investment to expand broadband in the city.
“Our innovative Internet Master Plan creatively leveraged 100,000 assets from 18 different City agencies and an unprecedented $157 million investment in open-access broadband infrastructure to bring affordable broadband to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers in the near term and millions in the medium term,” Farmer wrote.
Additionally, the report predicted that the city would continue to build on its civic-tech progress next year.
However, it will not be with Farmer at the helm. Farmer, who was appointed NYC CTO in April 2019, announced that he plans to depart city government after the new year when Eric Adams is sworn in as the new mayor. Mayor-elect Adams selected New York Police Department IT chief Matt Fraser as Farmer’s replacement.