The Obama administration is putting some serious resources into the smart city concept, announcing yesterday a wide range of initiatives spanning multiple federal agencies and also enlisting individual cities and universities and the private sector. According to a fact sheet provided by the White House, the total government investment comes to $160 million aimed at tackling “key challenges such as reducing traffic congestion, fighting crime, fostering economic growth, managing the effects of a changing climate and improving the delivery of city services.”
The fact sheet also offers a definition of the smart city: “communities that are building an infrastructure to continuously improve the collection, aggregation and use of data to improve the life of their residents – by harnessing the growing data revolution, low-cost sensors and research collaborations, and doing so securely to protect safety and privacy.”
Obama Smart City Initiatives
Among the initiatives announced are:
- More than $35 million in Smart Cities grants from the National Science Foundation, with further investment planned for 2016. The funding will go toward a variety of programs, including $11.5 million in new awards to US Ignite and the Mozilla Foundation to create “Living Lab” smart communities
- A $5 million investment by the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Smart Cities in 2016 and a new round of the Global City Teams Challenge
- The Department of Homeland Security will invest $50 million over five years to develop advanced emergency response technologies
- The Department of Transportation will have $40 million in new funding for advanced transportation development
- The Department of Energy will invest almost $10 million to enhanced the energy efficiency of smart cities and lower emissions
- The Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration will Invest $10 million in its Regional Innovation Strategies funding opportunity
- The Environmental Protection Agency will offer up to $4.5 million in new grant funding for data-based pollution control
- The U.S. Census Bureau will expand the open source CitySDK project, which makes key data available to communities and civic innovators
On the private sector side, IBM will provide resources for the Global City Teams Challenge, while AT&T will support Internet of Things and Smart Cities testbeds in the U.S. and globally.
Meanwhile Siemens USA will make its City Performance Tool available to the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, a global initiative that aims to use data to achieve environmental goals.
The fact sheet also calls out Smart City steps being taken by cities, universities and others, including MetroLab Network, a $1 million initiative funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to leverage university expertise to create a platform for city-university partners to share successful projects, coordinate research efforts and pursue funding opportunities. More than 20 city-university collaborations are on tap.
Another initiative is Envision America, a new nationwide non-profit that will conduct a competition aimed at accelerating the use of smart city technology.
Details about the smart city initiatives announced yesterday can be found in the White House fact sheet.