“This is great news for the City of Reno and our entire community,” said Reno Mayor Bob Cashell. “We can now boast that Reno is the Smartest Little City in the World.”
Joining in the announcement was the Reno City Council and City Manager Andrew Clinger along with several agencies that partnered with the City for this grant— the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the University of Nevada, Reno, the Desert Research Institute, the Nevada Institute of Renewable Energy Commercialization, and the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada.
IBM launched the Smarter Cities Challenge Program as part of its broader Smarter Planet initiative. The goal is to award 100 cities around the world with approximately $400,000 worth of IBM technical assistance to develop innovative solutions to municipal challenges. IBM does this by contributing 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.
Thousands of cities have applied to the program with 400 cities competing for the grant, and only 100 chosen. Cities that have received the award include Rio de Janeiro, Atlanta, and Singapore. This morning at the Smarter Cities Challenge Summit at IBM Corporate Headquarters in New York, Reno was announced as earning an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant in 2013.
Reno’s proposal is to develop a System of Systems “analytics utility” that will facilitate economic development as well as provide a basis for informed policy decisions. The City envisions a software platform, likely a geo-spatial one, on which multiple types of data per parcel could be loaded, especially data currently ‘silo’ed’ in different agencies, so that it could be easily accessible to developers, other agencies, and the public. This would include Community Development data (e.g., zoning, permits, and requirements), emergency call data, tax data, access to and types of utilities, water, parking, proximity to transportation, housing, schools, demographics, etc.
“Having the City of Reno receive this grant award represents more of the innovative, creative out-of the box action the City is employing as we continue our strong financial management and pursue our economic development efforts,” said Reno City Manager Andrew Clinger.
The new analytics utility will enable developers to compare and contrast the feasibility and costs related to different sites, and the City to proactively analyze the impacts of various types of development on City services and infrastructure. Local partners, notably the Nevada System of Higher Education and the Nevada Institute of Renewable Energy Commercialization, could use the analytics utility to support the region’s emerging tech transfer industry and “green” energy commercialization. Citizens will be empowered to provide meaningful input to policy makers on City projects or mobilize their own grass-roots initiatives, and the economic development community will be able to use the analytics to attract businesses to Reno and the surrounding area, including private investors and venture capitalists.
“Congratulations to the City of Reno for earning an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant in 2013. The City of Reno distinguished itself among itself peers by convincingly demonstrating its preparation and willingness to make the kind of improvements that will improve its residents’ quality of life and become a smarter city,” said Stanley S. Litow, IBM vice president of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, and president of IBM’s Foundation. “We consider it a privilege to share with the City of Reno the talent and expertise of our most gifted employees, who are the envy of the industry. They have premier skills in a range of disciplines — all useful for helping to build smarter cities and a smarter planet.”
For more information about the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge visit www.reno.gov/smartercity.