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March, 2023

Urban Insight Recognized With California State Master Service Award for Successful Government Contracting Projects

Josh Skelly
Josh Skelly
Chief Executive Officer

In the world of government contracts, finding a web design and development agency with the skills to build exceptional websites and navigate the often complex contracting process can be challenging. Urban Insight has a proven track record of doing both.

Urban Insight Awarded A California State Master Services Agreement

Urban Insight has had the pleasure of collaborating with cities, counties, cultural arts organizations, and other government agencies to develop exciting and innovative websites. Recently, the state of California acknowledged this extensive experience by awarding Urban Insight a Master Services Agreement (MSA) in the area of Technology, Digital, and Data Consulting.

A Master Service Agreement lets California state government agencies know that Urban Insight has the experience and resources to take on the most challenging projects. Urban Insight is also a Certified Small Business by the California Department of General Services and certified as a Local Business Enterprise (LBE) and Local Small Business (LSB) by the City of Los Angeles.

Being distinguished in these ways is an honor, but Urban Insight is most proud of our work with California state and local government agencies.

California Arts Council Gets Vibrant, Artistic Website that Highlights its Prominence and Mission

The California Arts Council needed to update their legacy website because it was difficult to maintain and not accessible to people with disabilities. Because the agency is focused on strengthening arts, culture, and creative expression for a better California, it was essential that the site was usable by all. The new platform developed by Urban Insight is accessible to people with disabilities and optimized for mobile devices, and it allows staff to update the website easily. In addition, a new mapping system enables legislators to easily see the impact of the Council in specific legislative districts. By working together, California Arts Council now has a vibrant, artistic website that is better aligned with the prominence and mission of the Council.

Creating the World’s First Personalized Zoning Code Website

The City of Los Angeles is the second largest city in the United States and has one of the most complex zoning codes that reflects the diversity of Los Angeles. Residents and businesses needed a user-friendly, responsive, searchable, and personalized web-based zoning code. 

To help meet this challenge, Urban Insight developed a new model for providing access to complex documents, creating the world’s first personalized zoning code for one of the largest cities in the world. The site allows residents to answer a series of questions to create a customized and streamlined version of the zoning code for their specific property and needs. 

Proud of its accomplishments, the City of Los Angeles authorized Urban Insight to open source the software for use by other cities and counties. The platform was recognized in 2017 at the American Planning Association Conference (APA) in New York City and awarded the APA Technology Division's Smart Cities Award.

“It was clear that Urban Insight recognized that we were not looking for an off-the-shelf solution, but a new vision. Working with Urban Insight, we have developed a great tool… with a new approach to presenting zoning information to the public.”
— Eric Lopez, City Planner, City of Los Angeles

A Modern Ticketing System that Scales to Handle Thousands of Visitors Within Seconds 

With a collection of more than 130,000 objects dating from antiquity to the present, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is the largest art museum in the western United States. LACMA is known for popular special exhibitions that sell out within minutes. Traffic to LACMA’s online ticketing system can spike to thousands of visitors within seconds.

Working together, Urban Insight and LACMA architected a highly scalable cloud-based solution that leveraged the benefits of on-demand cloud computing.  Using Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) and an Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) cluster, the new infrastructure automatically scales to accommodate any sudden influx of traffic.

The new ticketing system gives LACMA the confidence to scale ticketing sales to a virtually unlimited number of visitors while decreasing hosting costs by over 43% of the previous managed physical server configuration.

“Thanks, Urban Insight! Despite record traffic on the site and selling out our available ticket inventory, we did not encounter any server delays or issues at all.”

— Tomas Garcia, Associate Vice President for Technology, LACMA

Lessons Learned from Years of Successful Web Development Projects

After years of navigating the world of government contracts, Urban Insight has learned several lessons along the way. 

First, it helps to use strong, proven processes when developing complex web projects. These processes keep projects on-time and on-budget when unanticipated issues arise. 

Second, Urban Insight advocates for clearly defining deliverables. Taking extra time to document the project upfront can help avoid miscommunications later in the process. 

Finally, we believe it’s useful for government agencies to involve a web development agency early in the contracting process so that the web development agency can help identify potential issues and opportunities before the project is released as a Request for Proposal (RFP). 

If you work in a state or local government agency in California and are considering a new website project or initiative, please get in touch with us so one of our seasoned team members can discuss the project and offer early observations to help ensure you’re on the path to success.