Tech Republic: One of these 10 municipalities may be the next smartest city in the US

By Teena Maddox

February 1, 2017

The Smart Cities Council has named the 10 cities that are finalists in the Smart Cities Council Readiness Challenge Grant program, and five of the cities will receive readiness workshops tailored to their smart technology needs as well as technologies and services from council partners. The five winning cities will be announced on February 8.

"We've received tremendous interest from cities of all sizes across the United States and we've narrowed it down to an exceptional pool of ten finalists," said Smart Cities Council Chairman Jesse Berst. "Each finalist demonstrated a comprehensive approach to smart cities implementation that will significantly advance their livability, workability, sustainability and resilience."

The grant program deadline closed on December 31, 2016, and it was open to US cities with populations of at least 100,000, although neighboring cities could pool together to meet the population threshold. A total of 133 cities submitted applications.

Each of the ten cities submitted an online application and underwent interviews to determine the key areas each city would focus on for smart initiatives:

Austin, Texas: Fourteen key city stakeholders in Austin participated in the grant proposal interview which focused on the areas of energy, telecommunications and transportation.

Birmingham, Ala.: Along with the participation of Jefferson County, Birmingham applied for the grant with a focus on the built environment, energy and transportation.

Chula Vista, Calif.: Focused on energy, telecommunications and transportation, the City of Chula Vista applied for the grant with the participation of the City of San Diego and the Unified Port of San Diego.

Indianapolis: Marion County joined Indianapolis in the application process, focusing on the key areas of energy, transportation, water and wastewater.

Jersey City, NJ: Jersey City teamed up with Hoboken to submit a grant application focused on transportation, water and wastewater, and waste management

Miami, Fla: Miami is focused on the built environment, telecommunications and public safety.

Newport News, Va.: Focused on transportation, water and wastewater, and public safety, key interview participants included Director of Information Technology Andy Stein and Information Technology Web Developer Pamela Jeter.

Orlando, Fla.: Orange County joined Orlando in the grant application which focused on the built environment, transportation and public safety.

Philadelphia: The City of Philadelphia applied for the grant with a focus on the built environment, telecommunications, and water and wastewater.

Providence, RI: In Providence, several key city stakeholders participated in the application interview, which focused on the built environment, transportation and basic public services.