IBM and the Smarter Cities Challenge is partnering with 100 cities around the globe to solve complex urban challenges, awarding $50 million worth of services and technology over three years. IBM will contribute the time and expertise of  top experts from different business units and geographies, putting them on the ground for three weeks to work closely with city leaders and deliver recommendations on how to make the city smarter and more effective. 


In 2012, IBM worked with several Amerian cities on innovative solutions to solve complex local challenges. 


In Austin, TX, the IBM teamwas asked to investigate ways to address lingering disparities between East and West Austin, and propose a framework for the city to better coordinate and prioritize its infrastructure investments. The team delivered recommendations about transforming the delivery of social services, adopting a multi-modal approach to transportation planning, sharing data across city agencies, improving city communications, and creating an integrated planning process supported by an enterprise architecture. 


The IBM team in Mecklenburg County analyzed the feasibility of integrating the capital master planning in Mecklenburg County across multiple jurisdictions and issue areas, including parks, greenways, trails, recreation centers, libraries, schools, college campuses, residential and commercial developments, government facilities, transportation corridors, pedestrian and bicycle routes and watersheds.


In Providence, RI IBM helped the city plan for the reclaimation of 19.5 acres of land from the rerouting of Interstate 195, a freeway whose path through the Jewelry District isolated the area from the wave of revitalization that swept downtown Providence. The development of a new Knowledge District on this land requires the coordination of city agencies, state officials, developers and non-profit organizations. Mayor Angel Taveras challenged the IBM Team to create actionable recommendations for better, data-driven land use management, with systems that will promote the robust development of the city within and beyond the Knowledge District. The team identified four focus areas: organization, processes, technology, and performance, with recommendations that facilitate greater efficiency, greater alignment, better collaboration, more transparency and clear measurements. A better land use management system will enable the City to foster economic development by delivering more predictable review and approval times.


 When selecting the 2012 Smarter Cities Challenge grant recipients, several key criteria were considered.

The cities had to be prepared to match IBM's investment with their own commitment of time and resources. Proposals articulating pressing urban concerns that could be addressed by implementing *smarter* technologies and processes rose to the top of the list. Access to publicly available data that could leverage the capabilities of City Forward was an important consideration. And cities that demonstrated a solid track record of innovative problem solving were also viewed favorably.


You can learn more about the challenge and how to apply by visiting Smarter Cities Challenge.