This week IBM revealed it is expanding its Smarter Cities Challenge program for 2014 so that cities of all sizes are eligible to apply for a grant.
Since 2011, the Smarter Cities Challenge has helped more than 100 cities address key challenges in the areas of economic development; water, energy and environment; health and social services; transportation; and public safety, according to IBM.
Canadian cities Ottawa, Edmonton, Cambridge, Surrey and Quebec City have participated in this program in the past. This fall, Waterloo will be joining the roster with the goal of revitalizing its Northdale neighborhood by supporting plans around land use, urban design, and community improvement and by creating an action plan to reposition the neighborhood so that it is community focused and attracts new economic opportunities, IBM says.
For 2014, IBM is encouraging Canadian regions, cities or municipalities to apply for the Smarter Cities Challenge grant. Selected regions will receive a three-week consultative engagement valued at $400,000 to review and address key challenges faced by the region. At the end of the engagement, the region will be presented with a comprehensive set of recommendations for solving the problem, followed by a more detailed, written implementation plan.
"Effective service delivery in cities requires collaboration of so many stakeholders," says Stanley Litow, IBM vice president of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs. "One of IBM'S goals with Smarter Cities Challenge is to help city leaders gather data and organize a community around a shared set of facts. This is so that in spite of budgetary constraints that are so widespread, real progress can be made."
"We believe that our program can be an especially valuable resource to new mayors, with whom we can share successful strategies that have been put into place elsewhere," added Jennifer Crozier, IBM's vice president of Global Citizenship Initiatives. "We're humbled by the reception this program has enjoyed all over the world these past three years, and we're pleased that we can continue Smarter Cities Challenge for 2014."
Applications may be submitted through November 8.