Updated 12:19 p.m. with press release from Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, below.
Providence is one of 22 global cities selected by IBM in its 2011 Smarter Cities Challenge. Go Providence, RI! From Tshwane-Pretoria, South Africa to Guadalajara, Mexico to Nice, France to Townsville, Australia to Providence, RI, we will explore in the coming months how urban concerns are addressed “by implementing *smarter* technologies and processes.” As IBM stated, Providence was a city that
demonstrated a solid track record of innovative problem solving
IBM plans to announce 100 smarter cities through this challenge, and, as one of them, Providence will have access to some of IBM’s top talent and resources, who spend time in our city-state, living and working among us to help us tackle a tough issue.
OSCAR has and will be working closely with the City of Providence to share with you more information about this amazing opportunity that just accelerated our city and state from what Travel & Leisure referred to as an underdog city, to a very visible city via the IBM challenge. Congratulations Mayor Taveras! And thank you OSCAR Stakeholders!
Welcome to Little Rhody, Big Blue! Catch the Wave of Innovation! Follow oscarri.org as we track this opportunity.
Update: Mayor Taveras has released the following to congratulate Providence and OSCAR in the wake of this wonderful news:
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - March 9, 2011 — Mayor Angel Taveras today announced that Providence is a winner of the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge. The grant provides Providence with access to IBM’s top experts to analyze and recommend ways that the City can become an even better place in which to live, work and play.
Teams of specially selected IBM experts will provide leaders in Providence and Rhode Island with analysis and recommendations to support economic development, better delivery of municipal services, more citizen engagement, and improved efficiency in the capital city.
Providence was among 24 cities worldwide that IBM selected in its first Smarter Cities Challenge, a competitive grant that the company will award to 100 municipalities globally in the next three years. The technology and services that Providence will receive from IBM under the Smarter Cities Challenge grant are equivalent to as much as $400,000.
In awarding Providence with a Smarter Cities Challenge grant, IBM said the City demonstrated a solid track record of innovative problem solving. Providence created its winning proposal in collaboration with the Ocean State Consortium of Advanced Resources (OSCAR), a partnership of leading universities, government institutions, private companies, and social agencies aimed at tackling statewide problems in health care, education, economic development, and energy and the environment.
There are more than 40 organizations involved in OSCAR including: The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Rhode Island, AS220, Brown University, the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, Helicos BioSciences, IBM Corp., Johnston & Wales University, Lifespan, OSHEAN, the Office of Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, the Rhode Island Quality Institute, The Rhode Island Foundation, the Office of Rhode Island Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts, the Rhode Island School of Design, the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, Slater Technology Fund, Social Venture Partners Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Science & Technology Advisory Council, ThoughtCap, the University of Rhode Island, and Women & Infants Hospital.
A press conference will be held at Providence City Hall on Wednesday, March 16 from 10-11AM, to announce the details of the Smarter Cities Challenge project that will occur in Providence with IBM.
“I am excited that Providence has won the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge, and thank all of the City’s partners at OSCAR who helped to make this happen. The IBM Smarter Cities Challenge will benefit us all – helping us to collect, share and analyze the City’s data to better understand our strengths and develop innovative and cost-effective strategies to deliver services and build a stronger economy in Providence,” said Mayor Taveras.
IBM’s consultants and technology specialists will help the City of Providence analyze and prioritize its needs, review its strengths and weaknesses, and learn from the successful strategies used by other cities worldwide. After studying the role that intelligent technology might play in uniting and advancing different aspects of life in Providence, IBM will outline a range of concrete strategies to help make the City healthier, safer, smarter, more prosperous, and attractive to current and prospective residents and businesses.
“We selected Providence because of its commitment to the use of data to make better decisions, and for its desire to explore and act on smarter solutions to its most pressing concerns,” said Jennifer Crozier, IBM’s director of corporate citizenship and corporate affairs. “The cities we picked are eager to implement programs that tangibly improve the quality of life in their areas, and to create roadmaps for other cities to follow. The stakes have never been greater but we’re excited at the prospect of helping cities tackle the most pressing challenges of our time.”
The need for better city management has never been greater. In 2008, according to the United Nations, more than half the world’s human population began living in cities for the first time in the world’s history.
“I applaud IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge for selecting the City of Providence to engage in the dynamic Smarter Cities process and identify creative solutions for more effective systems supporting city services,” said Governor Lincoln Chafee. “I look forward to working closely with the City as it takes on the Smarter Cities Challenge.”
Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts said, “It has been exciting to work with the Mayor as part of the OSCAR collaborative to develop a partnership to engage the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge. There will be great benefit to be gained for both the City and the State as we work together with IBM to improve the way we collect information and use it to plan for the best solutions to some of our common challenges.”
“I am extremely excited about this opportunity for Providence, and the role OSCAR played in helping the City win the IBM award,” said Clyde Briant, vice president for research at Brown University and co-chair of OSCAR. “The work that OSCAR stakeholders have done together over the past two years has created a culture of trust that made OSCAR’s talented, visionary partners available to the City. Because of our culture of collaboration, OSCAR was able to help the City move quickly and flexibly to pursue the IBM Challenge, enter the new economy and aspire to become a global city.”
“IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge desire for broad-based, research-driven collaboration spoke directly to AICU Rhode Island’s mission for supporting cooperative activities through academic partnership,” said Dan Egan, president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Rhode Island, an alliance representing eight independent institutions of higher learning in the state. “Thank you to IBM for affirming that Providence, and Rhode Island, are poised and ready to grow the knowledge economy, both in the Knowledge District and beyond.”