WASHINGTON, D.C. — Information surrounds us — data on how much energy we use in the home, projected traffic congestion, and census reports. But how do we make sense of all this information? How do we make this data visible and more importantly, useful? The National Building Museum launched Intelligent Cities, a year-long investigation into how data and technology inform the look, feel, and function of our cities.

Intelligent Cities’ priority is drawing the public into a compelling, dynamic conversation about American cities, development, and technology. It invites readers to answer poll questions about their quality of life related to their home, neighborhood, community, city, and region. The poll is open to everyone at http://go.nbm.org/intelligentcities. Poll results, essays, videos, and other related content are also online. The museum is asking these questions because it wants the public to think about what drives their decisions and what intended or unintended consequences those decisions might have.

Through Intelligent Cities, the museum will be encouraging the public to join with experts in bold and provocative thinking on how to make cities thrive. It is the grassroots input about people’s perceptions of and priorities for the built environment around them that makes Intelligent Cities particularly significant for the National Building Museum. The initiative will produce data, analysis, and ideas on how new technologies are shaping cities and present this information in new and revealing ways. These insights may surprise us and change our perception of the built environment around us, and, perhaps, even our behavior.

Intelligent Cities is opening with a six-month national public outreach campaign, which will reach millions of people through promotional advertisements in Time and time.com. The one-year initiative will include research and consultation conducted by the museum and an advisory committee of experts, a public forum in June 2011, and a publication in Fall 2011.

Intelligent Cities is a National Building Museum project in partnership with Time, supported by IBM, and funded by the Rockefeller Foundation.

To learn more about Intelligent Cities, click here.