As it continues to recover from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is partnering with the Smart Cities Council to rebuild its infrastructure in a way that includes cutting-edge technologies.
The council, which provides resources for cities to develop emerging technologies, announced the partnership with the U.S. territory on Monday as part of its Readiness Challenge. The grant program offers workshops, digital tools and contributed resources from the IT industry for smart city growth.
The council announced Puerto Rico as an early winner to aid the island in its plans to rebuild in a way that not only replaces what was lost, but opens it up to improvement from the Internet of Things, renewable energy, connected vehicles and other technologies.
"This grant is an invaluable opportunity for Puerto Rico to develop a roadmap for implementing smart technologies and solutions as we rebuild," said Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló in a statement. "These efforts, which are being carried out in collaboration with the Office of the Government of Puerto Rico in Washington, D.C., will create an innovative pathway for a better Puerto Rico."
The grant is meant to enhance the recovery work that is already underway with a single program for sustainable development. Jesse Berst, Smart Cities Council president, said the project is expected to enrich Puerto Rico's environment, government services and environmental outcomes. Further, the grant entitles Puerto Rico to a year of expert mentoring and free products and services from council partners like Qualcomm, Battelle, SYNEXXUS, CompTIA and IES.
"We expanded our program to offer early support to Puerto Rico based on their urgent need to rebuild,” Berst said. “We were very impressed with their application, which focused on ‘building back better’ after last year’s devastating hurricane.”
The council says that there is workshop in the City of San Juan in March to begin the process of designing the city's smart city roadmap. Outside of Puerto Rico, similar grants will be offered to five additional localities that will be announced sometime in early March.
Finalists for the grant include Albuquerque, New Mexico; Aurora, Illinois; Birmingham, Alabama; Cary, North Carolina; Fairfax County, Virginia; the City of Los Angeles; the City of Las Vegas; Louisville-Jefferson County, Kentucky; and the Commonwealth of Virginia.