This page features FAQs and links to additional resources to help you use City Forward.

Frequently Asked Questions
General Questions | City Story Questions | Community Questions | Data Questions | My City Forward Questions
  1. Can anyone use City Forward?
  2. Are there any fees associated with accessing City Forward?
  3. Which cities are featured on City Forward?
  4. How can cities participate in City Forward?
  5. Where can I find more information about City Forward?
  6. What is the difference between a city and a metropolitan area?
  7. What browsers are supported by City Forward?
  8. What screen resolution works best?
  9. Where else can I find answers to technical questions about City Forward?
  10. Why should I sign in to City Forward?
  11. How do I register for City Forward?
  12. Why isn't my User ID and/or Password working?
Q:
Can anyone use City Forward?
A:

Yes. The website is free and open to users throughout the world and is based on data which is already publicly available.

Q:
Are there any fees associated with accessing City Forward?
A:

No. There are no fees or charges associated with accessing or using City Forward.

City Forward is a philanthropic donation from IBM, which applies expertise and technologies to offer insight into specific metropolitan issues.

Q:
Which cities are featured on City Forward?
A:

City Forward features a number of diverse, geographically dispersed cities and metropolitan areas. The selection of these depends on various criteria, most significant of which is the availability of reputable, public data. Cities and metropolitan areas will be added as City Forward continues to develop.

A current list of the available data on City Forward can be viewed at any time in the City Forward Data Catalog .

Q:
How can cities participate in City Forward?
A:

We are also looking for help in identifying case studies and reports illustrating urban best practices for our Smarter Practices collection. We encourage cities, organizations and individuals to contact us with suggestions.

Q:
Where can I find more information about City Forward?
A:

The About section, accessed from the Learn tab on the Home page or in the footer on the subpages, provides details about the project, more information about the data on City Forward, and our technology specifications.

Q:
What is the difference between a city and a metropolitan area?
A:

A city is a relatively large and permanent settlement, particularly a large urban settlement. A metropolitan area is a large population center consisting of a large city and its adjacent zone of influence, or of more than one closely adjoining neighboring central cities and their zone of influence.

City data ends at the official city boundaries. Metropolitan area data is greater than the city proper but also encompasses the city itself.

Q:
What browsers are supported by City Forward?
A:

City Forward supports the latest version of the following browsers:

Browser Provider
Firefox The Mozilla Project
Chrome Google Inc
Safari Apple Inc.
Internet Explorer Microsoft Corp.
Q:
What screen resolution works best?
A:

City Forward is best viewed in a screen resolution of 1024 x 768 or higher.

Q:
Where else can I find answers to technical questions about City Forward?
A:

The answers for many technical questions about City Forward are included in the Troubleshooting section of the Community page. If you don't see the answer to your questions you can add it as a topic for the Community or contact us . A link to Help is also available at the top of all pages.

Q:
Why should I sign in to City Forward?
A:

In addition to creating and viewing City Stories, reading the City Forward Blog, viewing Community discussions and exploring Smarter Practices – signed in users have the ability to create, publish, share and export City Stories, upload their own datasets, participate in Community discussions and post comments about other users’ City Stories and topics.

Q:
How do I register for City Forward?
A:

City Forward has adopted open authentication technology that lets you sign in using many of your existing accounts, including Google, Yahoo, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or Windows Account.

Q:
Why aren't my User ID and/or Password working?
A:

If you are experiencing issues with your sign in ID or password, please contact your sign in ID provider (Google, Yahoo, Flickr, Facebook or Windows Live) to resolve the issue.

  1. What is a City Forward City Story?
  2. How do I create a City Story on City Forward?
  3. What can I do once I've created a City Story?
  4. Where can I find my saved City Stories?
  5. Once I've started a City Story, how can I change the appearance of the data?
  6. How can I see what other City Forward users have created?
  7. Can I combine City Forward data and user contributed data into one City Story?
Q:
What is a City Forward City Story?
A:

City Stories are made up of one or more visualizations and associated text blocks. The visualization displays information about cities and subjects in one of several selectable formats - from bar charts to stacked area charts and beyond, while text blocks let you expand your narrative.

City Stories are the foundation of City Forward. They let you explore and identify interesting patterns, trends and correlations about the cities and subjects that may reveal new insights and point to new areas of interest for further investigation.

Q:
How do I create a City Story on City Forward?
A:

There are several ways to create a City Story.

• From the Home page click the Create an City Story tab
• At the top of any subpage, click City Stories → Create A City Story.
• On any existing City Story, click Create a copy…icon.
• From any City Profile, click a tag in the tag cloud or point on the profile chart.

The Creating City Stories Guide provides simple and easy steps to help you create, customize, save, and share your City Stories.

Q:
What can I do once I’ve created a City Story?
A:

Once your City Story is created, you can modify the visualization and/or refine the attributes. You can also publish your City Story for other City Forward users to see, export and share via email or social networking sites.

Q:
1.Where can I find my saved City Stories?
A:

To find City Stories that you have previously saved, click the My City Forward link at the top of any page, and then click on the My Work tab. Remember that your City Stories are saved under the ID with which you signed in. For example, if you create a City Story comparing unemployment data between New York and Hong Kong while signed in with your Google ID, you will not see that City Story in My Work if you are signed in with your Yahoo ID.

City Stories that you have published can also be found by clicking View All under the City Stories link on the top of any subpage or by selecting the View button in the Explore tab on the Home page. You can then sort the view by author.

Q:
Once I’ve started a City Story, how can I change the appearance of the data or chart?
A:

If you don't like how the data is appearing, try one of the following suggestions:

• Add a location attribute as a series or chart group (e.g., Metropolitan Area).
• Change the chart type as some data fits certain chart types better than others.
• Add additional data
• Add time as a category if it has been removed.
Q:
How can I see what other City Forward users have created?
A:

To view all City Forward City Stories, either:

> Access the main navigation on the homepage by clicking Show in the bottom, right corner. Then select the View button in the Explore tab.

> Click City Stories → View All City Stories at the top of any subpage.

You can sort the view by title, author, number of views or date saved.

Q:
Can I combine City Forward data and user contributed data into one City Story?
A:

Yes, City Stories can contain more than one visualization. For example, you can create a visualization with a user contributed dataset and add another visualization using data from the City Forward data catalog.

  1. How can I participate in City Forward?
Q:
How can I participate in City Forward?
A:

You can participate by creating and sharing City Stories with the City Forward Community, sharing them via email and through social networking sites.

Adding your voice to the active exchange of ideas in City Forward Community discussions is a valuable contribution. Community commentary is at the core of City Forward, empowering the City Forward Community to collaborate and discuss ideas and discoveries. Community discussions are organized by theme. If you are signed in to City Forward, you can add a new topic or comment on an existing one. You can also comment on City Stories published by other City Forward users.

We are always looking for help in identifying case studies and reports illustrating urban best practices for our Smarter Practices collection. We encourage cities, organizations and individuals to contact us with suggestions.

  1. Why can't I find my city's data on City Forward?
  2. Where can I see a list of all the data on City Forward?
  3. How does City Forward plan to identify additional data sources?
  4. What kind of data does City Forward need?
  5. Can I contribute my own dataset to City Forward?
  6. What is the accepted format for user contributed datasets?
  7. Can I combine City Forward data and user contributed data into one Exploration?
  8. How do I report an error in the data on City Forward?
Q:
Why can't I find my city's data on City Forward?
A:

City Forward features a number of diverse, geographically dispersed cities and metropolitan areas. The selection of these depends on various criteria, most significant of which is the availability of reputable, public data. Cities and metropolitan areas will be added as City Forward continues to develop.

Q:
Where can I see a list of all the data on City Forward?
A:

A current list of the available data can be viewed at any time in the City Forward Data Catalog . You can sort the data alphabetically, by source, by city or by subject. You can also read a description about a specific data source and follow the provided links for more detail.

Q:
How does City Forward plan to identify additional data sources?
A:

City Forward relies on publicly available data and statistics about cities and metropolitan areas. We are always looking for help in identifying the best data sources, and encourage cities, organizations and individuals to contact us with suggestions. Once the sources are vetted, the City Forward team is responsible for importing the data into the City Forward repository.

Q:
What kind of data does City Forward need?
A:

In general, City Forward is interested in any reputable data which has the following characteristics:

•Data connected to a specific city or metropolitan area

•Data over a period of time

•Data that is publicly and freely available


City Forward always documents the source of any data displayed on the site.

Q:
Can I contribute my own dataset to City Forward?
A:

Yes, contributing a dataset to City Forward is an easy, three step process.

1. Upload up to 5 MB of public data from a spreadsheet or file.
2. Describe the dataset, source and source URL.
3. Verify that the data displays properly before viewing it in a visualization.

Once the data is uploaded, only you will be able to see it until City Forward reviews it. Once reviewed, you will receive an e-mail and the dataset will be available to everyone that uses City Forward. You will need to change the status of any exploration using the dataset from Draft to Publish, so others can see the visualization of the dataset.

Q:
What is the accepted format for user contributed datasets?
A:

City Forward currently only supports data in a tab delimited list format. Additionally, the data must be associated to a time and location.

Time: Many of the visualizations in City Forward show a trend analysis, but even if the data is associated to a single point in time, at least one year must be associated to each row of data. Therefore a column with the name “Year”, “YR”, or “time” is required. Additionally, quarterly and monthly data may be provided by including an additional column for either quarter or month. The column headings must use the words year, quarter, and month, but are not case sensitive.

Location: Location is an important part of data on City Forward. One of your column headings should match the provided location name list.

Learn More About Uploading User Datasets

Q:
Can I compare City Forward data and user contributed data in one City Story?
A:

Yes, City Stories can contain more than one visualization. For example, you can create a visualization with a user contributed dataset and add another visualization using data from the City Forward data catalog.

Q:
How do I report an error in the data on City Forward?
A:

If you discover an error or inconsistency in the data on City Forward, we encourage you to contact us so that we can do further investigation.

  1. Why can't I change my profile information on City Forward?
Q:
Why can't I change my profile information on City Forward?
A:

Profile information is imported from your open identification provider, such as Google, Yahoo, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Microsoft Account. The only editable fields within City Forward are your location and the fields that were not imported from the ID provider. Any future profile changes made with your provider will override changes you entered in your City Forward profile.