The City of Buffalo has been selected as the beneficiary of an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Grant
. For three weeks in 2013, Buffalo will be enlisting the expertise of a Team of Executives at the multinational technology and consulting corporation. Buffalo was one of the select cities chosen out of 400 cities that applied for the grant. According to the City of Buffalo, the team will help "to analyze and recommend ways the city can become an even better place to live, work and invest." The executives will work with City officials and private partners in order to identify potential technological advancements that would help to optimize operation systems.
In order to secure the grant, Buffalo developed and submitted a proposal that outlined just how The City uses current technology in order to improve our neighborhoods. "I am pleased that IBM has selected Buffalo as a Smarter Cities Challenge Grant Recipient based on our winning proposal which outlined how the city uses and has upgraded its technology to assess priorities and design strategies to effectively and efficiently meet the on-going needs of our neighborhoods," said Mayor Brown. "Buffalo will receive an IBM competitive grant valued at about $400,000; this grant will allow us to work with top IBM executives to make optimum use of data among public and private entities to better understand and address complex neighborhood issues."
In the proposal sent to IBM, The City identified key areas of concern in the hopes that IBM execs could help to design solutions to effectively combat the issue. Top concerns were crime, abandoned properties, vandalism, blight, pollution, school absenteeism, violence and substance abuse in neighborhoods. With all of the statistics revolving around these problematic issues, there are ways to identify proactive remedies that will hopefully show The City where to allocate money, human resources, government assistance, etc. "Congratulations to Buffalo for earning an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant in 2013. Buffalo distinguished itself among its 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 your city 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."
Before the IBM execs arrive in Buffalo for the three week immersion, the team will have already been caught up to speed with data, and will be hitting the ground running upon arrival. IBM is versed in working with cities on multiple fronts including:
• Economic and Workforce Development -- reducing local dependence on a single industry
• Social Services - creating an ecosystem that supports independent living for a growing senior citizen community
• Sustainability - setting policies around billing rates, electric vehicle use, and solar power generation on an upgraded power grid
• Capital Budget Planning - enabling citizens to request expenditures, while analyzing their potential impact
• Urban Planning - taking a more systematic, data-driven approach to housing policy, downtown revitalization, zoning, and permits
Among previous engagements with cities, IBM strategies included:
• Cheongju, Korea, where IBM recommended smarter transportation strategies
• Dortmund, Germany, and Malaga Spain, where IBM formulated plans for economic, workforce, skills development
• Jacksonville, USA, where IBM outlined steps for downtown revitalization
• Louisville, USA, where IBM showed how the city could use data to identify, predict and mitigate conditions that trigger asthma
• Nairobi, Kenya, where IBM created a plan for traffic management
• Geraldton, Australia, where IBM suggested ways for the city to become a leader in smart grid technology adoption and digital services
• Curitaba, Brazil, where IBM suggested approaches to sustainability and citizen engagement
According to IBM, "Since its launch in 2008, Corporate Service Corps has sent more than 2,000 of IBM's top talent based in 50 countries on more than 200 team assignments in 30 countries."