By Jesse Berst, Smart Cities Council
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.
Two Council Partners, AT&T and Intel, are working with U.S. Ignite to help cities get federal funding to advance their projects through an initiative called the Smart City Corporate Partners Program. And there is tremendous need.
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 in the 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, , emergency response, healthcare and transportation.
Jesse Berst is chairman of the Smart Cities Council, which works to make cities more livable, workable and sustainable. Register for the Council's Smart Cities Week Silicon Valley, May 8-10 in Santa Clara, CA.