How Long Beach, CA, Used Resident Feedback Data to Inform its Strategy Around Reopening the Local Economy
Like many cities across the US, the City of Long Beach was not without its challenges during the first phase of reopening in the summer of 2020. As the City prepared for its second phase of reopening in the fall of 2020, leadership wanted to proactively mitigate any opportunities for complication this time around. The City’s leaders used their Zencity dashboard to not only understand how residents felt towards reopening, but also about businesses complying with health guidelines and maintaining a safe environment.
When presented with reopening, Long Beach City government had to weigh many factors including the health and safety of residents, a struggling local economy, at-risk and vulnerable populations, and more.
After reopening for the first time in summer 2020, the City quickly reclosed as COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continued to rise- accompanied by a rise in negative resident sentiment on the subject of reopening. A few months later, in November 2020, the City began to prepare for its second phase of reopening. This time around, the City wanted to ensure that they addressed resident concerns from lessons learned that summer. Their top priorities in reopening centered around ensuring that guidelines were clear, businesses were properly equipped, and residents felt comfortable.
Despite city plans and ordinances, several local business owners refused to comply with the health orders in place. Due to a year of fluctuating income, local businesses felt compelled to stay open, flouting the latest orders. This forced City leaders to find a solution for balancing businesses’ needs to stay open and making sure residents felt safe and comfortable.
The Zencity Solution
Long Beach’s leadership used Zencity’s community insights and analytics platform both to leverage resident input data and to measure and monitor resident satisfaction after the second phase of reopening.
Based in part on organic resident discourse analyzed by Zencity in the previous summer reopening, the City decided that in this reopening, it would allocate CARES Act funding to support struggling businesses and residents. After allocating the funding and reopening, the City followed its residents’ online discourse on the Zencity platform to get an understanding of how residents felt towards the current reopened status of their city.
Notably, the City was also able to gauge residents’ support, or lack thereof, towards non-complying businesses. When one particular dining establishment openly refused the current health orders in place, residents took the conversation online, amounting to over 40K interactions. Zencity’s data analysts drilled down on the discourse data, which revealed that objection to these defiant actions was 3.5X higher than expressions of understanding and strong support for businesses. In fact, the outpour of resident support for businesses complying with official health orders enabled the City to feel confident in their current health orders.
Referring to real-time resident discourse and detailed reports courtesy of Zencity, the City has pushed forward confidently and with the support of its community members, as it continues to navigate the pandemic and its reclosures and reopenings.
One of the aspects of data that we’re using is Zencity’s resident feedback, which has played a key role in our strategy. The dashboard provides us with project widgets that we connect to our own developed APIs so that Zencitys data is automatically loaded into our Power BI dashboard and is provided to our key decision makers at least three times a week. Zencity has helped inform our work with mask mandates, reopening and business compliance, and our vaccine efforts.