Ottawa selected for IBM’s 2012 Smarter Cities Challenge

Ottawa – The City of Ottawa is one of two Canadian cities and 33 municipalities worldwide selected among 150 applicants in the IBM 2012 Smarter Cities Challenge.

As part of the Challenge Program Award, a dedicated IBM team of experts will be loaned to the City for three weeks to assist in its current land use exercise on properties surrounding the planned light-rail transit stations.

”Ottawa will be changing over the next few years and this Smarter Cities Award will help us prepare,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “We are pleased to be one of the few municipalities in the world that will benefit from IBM’s strategic expertise and technical insight as we plan to capitalize on the economic development opportunities that our new Light Rail Transit system will provide.”

The project will utilize technological data analysis and stakeholder relations to examine the best ways increase market interest for residential and business growth in these new developed areas. As part of study, they will help to determine whether public investment is required to meet existing demographic needs and the anticipated population of our city.

“Ottawa’s long-term plan is for the intensification and revitalization of our urban centres,” said Councillor Peter Hume, Chair of the City’s Planning Committee. “I look forward to working with IBM to ensure that our transit-oriented development plans will make living and working around the transit stations more attractive and help to transform these currently underutilized areas into vibrant and economically sustainable spaces.”

The Smarter Cities Challenge was started by IBM to help 100 cities across the globe to be effective and resilient in meeting today’s growing economic and resource challenges. Since it began in 2011, cities such as St. Louis, Philadelphia, Helsinki and Sapporo, Japan have utilized similar expertise from IBM.

“We have seen how technology has helped the City better connect citizens with services in an effective and cost-efficient manner,” said Councillor Tim Tierney, Chair of the Information Technology Sub-Committee. “This move further leverages technology and the economic development expertise of the IBM team to assist our planning team with the land development around the light-rail transit system.”

IBM received than 150 applications from 33 countries for this year’s program and the review team was impressed with the depth and complexities of the challenges outlined in Ottawa’s proposal, the City team’s track record and achievements and the vision for a smarter city.