How Montreal plans to get smart

Wed, 2015-05-20 06:00 -- SCC Staff

Montreal -- Quebec, Canada's largest city – already takes pride in its reputation as a digital technology center. Now it wants to be a world-class model of a smart city. It worked hard to decide what route to take.

In 2014 Montreal established a Smart and Digital City Office with a mission to provide a framework "for the kind of transformational projects that affect every aspect of life here, whether they involve government, infrastructure, public services or social issues."

To reflect the needs of Montreal citizens, the office started a major dialog with institutional and private sectors, municipal workers and the citizens themselves. "By analyzing the over one million phone calls and 40,000 emails to the 311 information service logged in 2013, the responses of over 7,600 Montréalers over four surveys, consultations with over 400 participants as part of local co-design activities, and by rubbing elbows with people all over the island, the office has developed a clear understanding of what matters most to Montréalers," the city reports.

5 main themes identified
The city says that as a result of the ongoing dialogue and inspired by global best practices, the Smart and Digital City Office developed five themes that will drive its Smart and Digital City Strategy through 2017:

  • Urban mobility
  • Direct services to citizens
  • Quality of life
  • Democratic process
  • Economic development

A Montreal Gazette report on the plan says it identified 70 priority projects in all. Among them will be extending free Wi-Fi and integrating fiber-optic capability in large new developments and helping companies get high-speed Internet to residents.

Encouraging people to use open data supplied by the city to develop citizen-centric apps is another piece of the plan, as is simplifying ways citizens can interact with the city by updating its website and 311 service.

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