President Obama wants to open up the "interactions and interplay" between private sector, non-profits and government
A year after introducing its Smart Cities Initiative, the US federal government has pledged more than $80m in new funds to boost smart technology innovation and infrastructure at a local level.
The Obama administration, which made the announcement to coincide with Smart Cities Week in Washington (27-29 September), seeks to double the number of cities and communities participating in the programme to more than 70.
“If we can reconceive of our government so that the interactions and the interplay between private sector, non-profits, and government are opened up, and we use technology, data, social media in order to join forces around problems, then there’s no problem that we face in this country that is not soluble,” said president Barack Obama.
These new investments and collaborations will help cities of all sizes, including in the following key areas, the White House said in a factsheet:
Transportation: More than $15m including National Science Foundation funding for researchers in Chattanooga to test whether an entire urban network of connected and autonomous vehicles can automatically cooperate to improve travel efficiency and operate safely during severe weather events.
Climate: Allocation of nearly $15m and two new coalitions to help cities and communities tackle energy and climate challenges. For example, one Department of Energy campaign has already signed up 1,800 buildings representing 49 million square feet with data analytics tools that could reduce their energy footprint by 8 per cent or more, on average.
Public safety: More than $10m in new grants and planned funding for public safety, resilience, and disaster response. For example, the Department of Homeland Security is funding the development of low-cost flood sensor-based tools in flood-prone areas of Texas, where predictive analytics will give first responders and local officials new capability to issue alerts and warnings, and the ability to respond more rapidly to save lives when a flood strikes.
Also announced as part of the latest Smart Cities Initiative was the Smart Cities Council Challenge Grants programme that will help five different cities around the country apply smart technologies to improve “urban liveability, workability and sustainability”.
CompTIA, the non-profit association for the technology industry, announced its commitment to building smart cities by lending its expertise, resources and support to the Smart Cities Council Challenge Grants programme initiative.
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