by Brianna Crandall — March 27, 2017 — The Smart Cities Council, a worldwide smart cities network, recently announced that Austin, Indianapolis, Miami, Orlando and Philadelphia are the five winners of the Smart Cities Council Readiness Challenge Grant program, which is expected to have an impact on facilities across each city.
Over 130 cities were involved in the application process. All applicants will receive feedback and guidance from the Council, including the runner-up cities of Birmingham, AL; Chula Vista, CA; Jersey City, NJ; Newport News, VA; and Providence, RI.
The winning cities will receive a tailored Readiness Workshop during 2017 to develop a roadmap for applying smart technologies to further innovation, inclusion and investment within their cities.
The winning cities will also receive supporting products and services from Council member companies and advisors including Ameresco, AT&T, CH2M, CompTIA, Dow Building and Construction, IDC, Qualcomm, Sensus, Telit, TM Forum and Transdev.
Smart Cities Council Chairman Jesse Berst explained:
Breaking down the departmental silos is a key challenge in developing a smarter city. Each of the winning cities has demonstrated the ability to work across departments to solve problems. Our coalition of world-class experts looks forward to working with each of these enterprising cities to help them make smart use of technology to become more livable, workable, sustainable and resilient.
The winning cities and their plans are highlighted below.
Austin, TX, will use its Readiness Workshop to design strategies and solutions for affordable housing for underserved populations, mobility and economic development issues that have been heightened by Austin’s rapid growth, booming tech sector and attractive quality of life. The city is concentrating its efforts on reaching people who could benefit from a government that is more responsive to their needs, but who rarely take part in traditional forms of civic engagement.
Indianapolis and Marion County
Indianapolis and Marion County, IN, will strengthen emerging initiatives in smart utilities and transportation. After a large delegation attended Smart Cities Week in 2016, Indianapolis formed a working group of ecosystem partners to assess smart city capabilities and guide a long-term vision that integrates with the city’s future planning. Marion County recently approved development of the first electric bus rapid transit (e-BRT) system in the country and is also moving forward with 16 Tech — a comprehensive IoT hub that will pioneer citywide digital infrastructure. Indianapolis’ culture of innovation and rapidly expanding tech industry are said to provide strategic advantages to smart city planning, specifically in the areas of water, energy and transportation.
Miami, FL, will demonstrate the value of smart technologies to enhance urban resilience. As a coastal city with strong geographical growth constraints, Miami is already experiencing the effects of climate change, including frequent tidal floods. The city is planning a Sea-Level Rise Pilot Program that will use geographic information system (GIS) data across departments along with 3-D modeling, waterfront sensors and LIDAR to provide real-time alerts and inform planning efforts. The city plans to use the new partnership to help it foster openness and the community collaboration needed to achieve smarter solutions.
Orlando and Orange County
Orlando and Orange County, FL, will receive help to develop a comprehensive smart city plan that fully integrates multiple city departments and regional stakeholders. As a global tourist destination, Orlando hopes to showcase a range of smart transportation solutions that can enhance the visitor experience while improving safety and reducing congestion. The city is also working to integrate sensors and advanced communications systems into its public safety programs. Orlando leaders expect the access to new data and communication technologies will help the city continue to become more intelligent, interconnected and efficient, to further improve the lives of residents and visitors.
Philadelphia, PA, will get help facilitating collaboration and building a regional smart cities ecosystem. The process of applying for the grant has already helped to bring city departments together, causing them to realize they were working on individual solutions to common problems. City leaders have been building a coalition of city, community, business and educational institutions that are said to be enthused and ready to help with smart city projects focused on the built environment, telecommunications, and basic public services like water.
Launched in 2012, the Smart Cities Council is the author of the internationally recognized Smart Cities Readiness Guide, which provides guiding principles and best practices for an integrated, cross-cutting smart city. The Readiness Guide is the framework used to produce Readiness Workshops, which are delivered all over the world to help cities create their smart city roadmaps.