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Smart Cities Council announces challenge winners

More than 130 cities were involved in the application process

Indianpolis (above) was chosen alongside Austin, Miami, Orlando and Philadelphia
Indianpolis (above) was chosen alongside Austin, Miami, Orlando and Philadelphia

Each winning city demonstrated the ability to work across departments

The Smart Cities Council has named Austin, Indianapolis, Miami, Orlando and Philadelphia as the winners of its Readiness Challenge grant programme.


Each of the five cities will receive a package of supporting products and services from council member companies and advisers. They will also take delivery of a tailored Readiness Workshop during 2017 to help them develop a roadmap for applying smart technologies to further innovation, inclusion and investment within their respective cities.


“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,” said Jesse Berst, chairman of the Smart Cities Council. “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 liveable, workable, sustainable and resilient.”


The winning cities plan to progress their activities as follows:


Austin will use its Readiness Workshop to develop strategies to invite under-served populations to participate in designing solutions for their mobility needs as well as affordable housing and economic development. The city, which is growing rapidly, is concentrating its efforts on reaching people who could benefit from a government that’s more responsive to their needs, but rarely take part in traditional forms of civic engagement.


Indianapolis and Marion County will strengthen emerging initiatives in smart utilities and transportation. 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.


Miami will demonstrate the value of smart technologies to enhance urban resilience. As a coastal city with strong geographical growth constraints, it 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.


Orlando and Orange County 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.


Philadelphia 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 realise they were working on individual solutions to common problems.


Set up in 2012, Smart Cities Council has regional councils in North America, Europe, India and Australia-New Zealand. The council is comprised of more than 120 partners and advisors who generate $2.7 trillion in annual revenue.


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