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London politicians approved the draft strategy at the city's Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee

A "Smart City" uses technology and data collection to enhance the lives of its residents and increase its competitiveness with other cities.

And now, London, Ont., could become just that.

Councillors voted Monday to look into a draft strategy that would support the shift that's already underway. The "smart" way of thinking and planning would ensure the city delivers its services in a more cost-effective, convenient and accessible way.

"We are thinking about a future of London that will use innovation data and technology to make our lives better, to strengthen our economy, to protect our environment and deliver government services more openly efficiently and effectively," said head city planner John Fleming.

The city is working with London Hydro, the London Economic Development Corporation and London and Regional Global Network (LARG*net), among other stakeholders.

What is "Smart City" thinking?

City staff has already adopted a "smart" way of thinking in some respects, but a "Smart City" requires a more deliberate, strategic approach.

For example, the city already has a customer relationship management software that allows for online, phone and in-person help. It also has an open data portal available to third party users.

Another application that would fall under "smart" thinking would be the London Waze integration app that releases real-time construction and traffic information.

What would be considered if the plan falls in place would be a new tool to connect neighbourhoods and communities.

Or even a way to track a household's carbon emission data that would in turn help provide utilities in an environmentally conscious way.

Fleming said the strategy would also "promote London as a test bed for innovators," which would invite others to use London's infrastructure or roadways for research, if applicable.

"We really need to think about how we are delivering our services, how we are competitively set up with infrastructure to support business that are already here or ones we want to attract … the way we deliver a smart city can affect the talent that we are able to attract to London," Fleming said.

Staff was advised Monday to continue to research the draft three-pronged strategy that focuses on creating a culture of "Smart City" thinking, facilitating "Smart City" initiatives and developing smart infrastructure.

Beyond technology

Smart doesn't have to mean tech-centred.

Fleming said city staff recognizes that technology is changing rapidly and that cutting edge tools may not be so relevant in a few years.

He said the city should focus on all problem solving methods that both require technology and not. This may also mean relying on other sectors and institutions for help.

Fleming said the plan looked at best practices in other cities that have already adopted a "Smart City" approach including Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary.

Staff will now seek online and in-person feedback from the community to nail down on a revised strategy that will return to council next year. That's when staff will also propose an implementation plan to be considered in the 2020-2024 strategic plan.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Hala Ghonaim

Quelle/Source: CBC, 15.10.2018

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