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Donnerstag, 4.03.2021
eGovernment Forschung seit 2001 | eGovernment Research since 2001

Economic development is a competition.

In fact, according to David Cook, it's one of the toughest and most competitive fields in the world.

Cook is a middle Georgia native who studies what's called "smart cities."

On Thursday, he gave a presentation to the Development Authority of Warner Robins on why the growing city should transition to becoming smart.

A smart city is a city that uses technology to provide services and solve city problems.

Cook says 5,000 towns and cities across the nation are in constant competition for what industry can make their area money.

"Smart City is a wired high tech intensive city that connects people, information, and city elements, using new technologies and infrastructure to create a sustainable, greener city, competitive and innovative economy, and enhance life quality," Cook explained.

An example of smart technology in a city is smart lighting. With technology, if there's no traffic and or no one walking along a particular street, the lights dim.

"When somebody shows up or a car drives on the street, they bright back up again. That's called energy savings. You know, you would probably be surprised with the electric bill for the City of Warner Robins. And a lot of it is streetlights."

Smart sensors can be put on just about anything, including water, sewage, and gas meters. These sensors measure and track usage, alerting the city of when there's a problem and potentially saving tax payers dollars.

The smart technology can also help improve safety. "Safety is always a big thing with any town. If you can move using technology from reactive policing into proactive policing, imagine not only the cost savings, but imagine how much you're creating a safer environment for your police department. And your crime solving ability. So people feel safer. When people still feel safer, they want to stay in their neighborhoods, they want to stay in the town."

Cook explained that every 60 years there's a seismic shift. He referenced 60 years ago when the interstate was created and how cities who didn't opt-in were left behind. He believes another shift is happening now, technologically.

According to him, Houston County is spending close to $68 million dollars on educating students, but less than 40 percent of them choose to stay once they are finished with school.

"They're not coming back because they do not see their life in Warner Robins. They do not see their life in the county. That is your reality right now. You need to give them a reason to stay," Cook said.

Because of the internet, Cook argues, younger generations like Millenials and Generation Z or Zoomers, are more informed and care more about how their city operates. They care about the environment, as well as access and convenience. "Kids today want to live and work and play in the same area."

Since smart cities create an environment that is more green and innovative, those cities become more attractive.

There were 10 economic benefits of smart cities that the expert shared:

  • automation: cost saving by bringing automatic city resources like water and electricity
  • ensuring proper efficiency: smart city sensors make sure resources are used without losses
  • mitigating risks and reducing damages: in case of disaster, is a way smart cities can cut down expenses
  • quality of life: happier citizens care more about the city and work to further improve and develop it
  • connectivity: having ever device connected to each other improves city's performance
  • more inflow of talent: who are attracted by the safer, happier environment, creating a rise in overall economy
  • sustainable ecosystem: reduced emissions and cleaner cities... increases standards of living
  • smart transportation: reduces congestion and pollution
  • smart buildings: connected with each other, saving resources or even generating their own electricity and heat
  • big data: valuable to both city and authorities: especially to companies... strict ethical an legal standards have to be maintained

Cook says Warner Robins doesn't have to be a "big city" to make this move. One of the top smart cities in the country is LaGrange, Ga.

"They've already gained international attention because they're offering free internet access throughout the city. They've got a smart grid system and an advanced broadband network.," Cook said.

LaGrange has a population of just 30,000. Right now, Warner Robins is approaching the 80,000 mark. Peachtree Corners is another Georgia making city gains in transitioning to more technology. Cook says the city has internet sensors all over town.

"As a result of that, they're not having to go look for companies, companies are calling them."

What's most important, according to Cook, is learning how to take advantage of the available technology to make your city better.

In order to become a smart city, Warner Robins would need a fiber optic infrastructure that's at a minimum of three to five gigabytes. Okay.

To pay for this type of grand infrastructure, Cook says there are state and federal grants available, but not for long.

The move to smart technology was not yet a proposal, nor was it voted on at the meeting.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Brittany Miller

Quelle/Source: WGXA TV, 06.02.2021

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