Applications have opened for the 2019 North American Readiness Challenge for cities, an annual program by the Smart Cities Council, running for the third year. Past iterations of the Challenge have helped nearly a dozen cities and states advance their smart cities initiatives. The deadline is on January 18, 2019, and five jurisdictions will be selected in March 2019, to receive significant assistance in their effort to become smart.
The winners of the Challenge will receive a wide range of benefits, including online tools, mentoring and project financing support. Consultation will take the form of tailored interactive workshops given by top smart city experts, mentoring and digital tools that help communities develop their smart cities plans, detailed guidance on how to make projects more financeable, national publicity via the Council’ s promotional efforts, and connections to funding and financing organizations so that beneficiaries can strengthen their projects to deliver more widespread and inclusive results.
In addition, a new feature for the 2019 Challenge is free year-long access to the Smart Cities Project Activator, an online portal that helps them collaborate with a wide array of stakeholders to build consensus and make it easier to scope and fund their projects.
The assistance provided to the beneficiaries will include follow-on workshops on state-of-the-art topics and technologies such as 5G, autonomous vehicles or artificial intelligence.
The selection of the five winners will be made using the quality of the programs and projects they wish to implement next as the main criterion, and not any previous smart city work they might have done. The Smart Cities Council seeks projects that are impactful (helping many people), cross-cutting (involving multiple departments), inclusive and sustainable.
The list of entities that are eligible to apply for the Challenge include cities, counties, states, provinces, “mini-cities’ (stadiums, campuses, bases) and regional authorities (transit, ports, airports) in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Utility, university and non-profit-led smart city consortiums with strong community involvement are also eligible.
The 2018 Readiness Challenge winners were: Birmingham, AL; Cary, NC; Las Vegas, NV; Louisville-Jefferson County, KY; the state of Virginia; and the territory of Puerto Rico. The 2017 Readiness Challenge winners were: Austin, TX; Indianapolis, IN; Miami, FL; Orlando, FL; and Philadelphia, PA.
Information about the program and the online application is available at the SCC site.
The original announcement can be found on Smart & Resilient Cities.