If you're like most city leaders, you understand the benefits of making your city more livable, workable and sustainable. But time and again, one of the things we hear from leaders is that money is the biggest obstacle to taking on smart city initiatives. When budgets are tight, it's hard to advance beyond basic services.
We've tried to help in that regard through our first-ever Smart Cities Readiness Challenge Grants. And today we want to bring your attention to a new source of help. Council Partners AT&T and Intel are working with U.S. Ignite to help cities get federal funding to advance their projects. If you have the vision, but money is holding you back, this new initiative may provide some of the help you need. — Doug Peeples
Interest in smart city technology projects is growing as local officials increasingly realize how much they could enhance urban environments for their citizens, support new and expanded services and strengthen their economies. But as recent research has shown, the majority of cities can't afford to make the necessary investments.
The public-private approach
US Ignite is collaborating with tech companies Smart City Corporate Partners Program to help cities apply for the federal funding they need for smart city projects. The program brings together cities and the companies that will take responsibility for grant applications and managing funds. The companies will work with cities on project development, but the arrangement relieves cities of the need to pay the administrative costs of going through the federal grant application process.
The tech companies involved get something out of the arrangement, too. Once federal funding is obtained, the companies have the opportunity to test their smart city technologies in the cities they're working with as well as a channel to current research through US Ignite's relationships with academic institutions and other sources.
Top project areas
The Smart City Corporate Partners Program primarily focuses on projects related to disaster recovery, energy efficiency, emergency response, healthcare and transportation.
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Doug Peeples is a Portland, Oregon-based writer specializing in technology and energy. Follow @smartccouncil on Twitter.