At Kinder speech, O'Malley promotes urban data
Martin O’Malley, former governor of Maryland and former Democratic presidential candidate, shared his thoughts on modern urban leadership last Wednesday at a Rice University Kinder Institute for Urban Research event.
O’Malley, who also served two terms as mayor of Baltimore, is currently the chair of the MetroLab Network, which brings cities and research universities together to use data to solve citywide issues. Last Thursday, the MetroLab Network unveiled its Houston Solutions Lab, a partnership between Rice University and the city of Houston.
O’Malley explained in his presentation that the MetroLab network strives to help cities like Houston use big data to solve big problems.
“The idea behind this network is that universities can be powerful engines of research and development,” O’Malley said. “And if they’re paired with their cities, those cities can act as tremendous test beds of deployment, of scaling, of iterations that can really go to a national level.”
As mayor of Baltimore, O’Malley helped pioneer the use of citywide data collection with the implementation of the CityStat system, and as governor of Maryland, implemented StateStat. Both of these programs use quantitative analysis to measure a variety of factors from levels of violent crime to air pollution to help create targeted solutions.
According to O’Malley, he faced formidable challenges when he became mayor of Baltimore, but the use of data collection was able to significantly help this situation.
“In 1999, I ran for Mayor of Baltimore and by 1999 our city had become the most violent, abandoned and addicted city in America,” O’Malley said. “The three cities that achieved in the period 2000-2009 the biggest reductions in violent crime were Los Angeles, New York and Baltimore.”
The rapid dissemination of information in today’s society demands leaders who can keep pace, O’Malley said.
“In the information age, people know as much as their leaders,” O’Malley said. “And they usually know before their leaders. The effective leader [must] put her or himself in the center of that emerging truth.”
According to O’Malley, cities will take precedence and determine the country’s path forward.
“All of this technology is rapidly ushering in a new way of leadership,” O’Malley said. “And this new way of leadership is happening most predominantly in America’s cities. Well-run administrations will have all of these characteristics: entrepreneurial, collaborative, performance-measured, interactive. It is the new way of governing and leadership that is emerging in America’s cities.”
O’Malley explained that this data-driven form of governance may even have the power to overcome significant ideological divisions within the U.S.
“There is far more that unites us than divides us,” O’Malley said. “The innovation that’s emerging in cities is going to lead us into that new day.”
More from The Rice Thresher
Last month, a group of Black students published a list of demands for the administration to “address the systemic oppression and inequity that is embedded within Rice’s history by acknowledging and amplifying voices, experiences and communities that have historically been unheard.” One of the six demands is to remove Founder’s Memorial, the statue of William Marsh Rice found in the Academic Quad, on the basis of Rice’s enslavement of 15 people and involvement in the cotton trade. This demand received particular attention with “Down With Willy,” a student-led social media campaign to demand the administration remove the statue.
“Statues are not meant to teach events. They are constructed to honor the memory of those depicted. Like all slave owners, William Marsh Rice is not worth reverence,” write Taylor Crain (Lovett ‘21), Lauren Palladino (Duncan ‘21), Emily Weaver (Jones ‘22) and Divine Webber (Duncan ‘22).
Students returning to campus in the upcoming fall semester will have to adjust to a number of precautionary changes all subject to change, such as rearranged housing, bathroom schedules and mandated COVID-19 testing, implemented in efforts to protect against the spread of COVID-19, according to an email sent July 1 by Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman.