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Smart City Expo Draws Broad Audience Trading Tips on Making Cities Smarter

How can a smart city improve communities? At the recent Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC) Expo, city officials across the country dug into this challenge. The three-day meeting welcomed shared stories about smart city projects that are helping communities improve agriculture and health care, reduce traffic congestion, increase energy efficiency, and speed emergency response times.

“Smart tech can deliver drastic improvements for our communities,” said NTIA Acting Assistant Secretary Diane Rinaldo, who talked about the benefits of interagency collaboration at the event. NTIA, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate co-sponsor the annual meeting.

Rinaldo announced the launch of a new GCTC Smart Regions Collaborative aimed at bringing cities and communities together at the regional level. Much of the power behind the GCTC work derives from the public-private partnership model that NTIA has used to build consensus-based frameworks in a wide array of policy issues, Rinaldo said. NTIA’s BroadbandUSA work relies heavily on the public-private partnership model, she said.

One example of regional collaboration is focused on solving hunger challenges in the Appalachian region. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is using smart technologies in projects to increase efficiencies in local farming, and improve workforce development. And in the Washington, D.C. area, the Board of Trade is working with city universities on smart technologies that can be leveraged to serve the entire region.

The Smart Regions Collaborative consists of 10 inaugural regions, but likely will expand as more regions see the benefits. The project’s goal is to form teams that span jurisdictions, sectors, and disciplines to solve problems that affect all types of communities. Over the next year, the collaborative will create a blueprint that empowers local, regional, and tribal leaders to build their own smart region strategies.