SPOKANE, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Spokane has been selected to be among the first 10 cities in America to participate in a program sponsored by Envision America. As part of the selection, Spokane will join 9 other cities in an intensive workshop as well as a yearlong technical support program. Spokane is being recognized for its efforts in becoming a safer, stronger and smarter city. Formation of Envision America, a national nonprofit, was announced in September of this year during a White House event in which the Administration announced a new “Smart Cities” Initiative to help communities tackle local challenges and improve city services. Envision America, based on the success of Envision Charlotte, focuses on challenging America’s cities to become smarter by accelerating deployment of innovative technologies that tackle energy, water, waste, and air challenges.
“We are proud to be a founding partner in this effort that is helping Spokane drive innovation and create new opportunities for the community,” said Philip Mezey, President and CEO of Itron. “This selection highlights the resourcefulness being applied in Spokane while demonstrating the development potential of the University District.”
Avista Chairman, President and CEO Scott Morris added, “We are eager to be part of this exciting opportunity. The timing is perfect. Spokane already has a rich history of coming together time and again to collaborate for the greater good of our community, and this initiative places our can-do spirit on the national stage. Together, we will shape what cities of the future will look like.”
City of Spokane Mayor David Condon shared the enthusiasm, noting, “Spokane has numerous great examples of innovation and collaboration, and the University District is one of the great success stories. We are building critical infrastructure and making strategic investments that will jump-start private investment and support sustainable growth. Being held up as a national leader is a great honor for Spokane.”
In January 2016, representatives from all 10 cities selected by Envision America will travel to Charlotte, North Carolina, where they’ll participate in an interactive workshop with leading industry and academic experts to identify their city’s needs, explore potential solutions and develop new smart initiatives for their cities. Plus, they’ll receive technical assistance throughout the year to help implement their plans.
Spokane’s Smart City Accelerator
Since 2014, a group of companies and organizations that are all leaders in their respective fields with a vested interest in Spokane’s success have been working together to establish the vision and planning for this initiative known as Spokane’s University District Smart City Accelerator. This group includes Avista Utilities, Itron, the City of Spokane, Washington State University, McKinstry and the University District Development Association. The group has been encouraged and mentored by some of the world’s leading providers of information, data and communications technologies as well as the Smart Cities Council. The Smart Cities Council is a global coalition headquartered in Redmond, WA that is dedicated to educating and supporting cities to create smart, sustainable cities with high-quality living and high-quality jobs.
Living Laboratory in the University District
Spokane’s Smart City Accelerator is based in the University District’s 770-acre footprint and emphasizes the critical interactions between energy, water, health, food and the built environment. Spokane’s vision leverages planned technology infrastructure additions, the campuses’ existing health sciences focus and the region’s health care concentration to establish a manageable, community-scale living laboratory that will enhance resident well-being and stimulate development. The technical assistance provided by the Envision America selection will accelerate Spokane’s effort from planning to implementation during the coming year.
What are “Smart Cities”? A smart city uses information and technologies to enhance the quality of city services, to improve city efficiency, to reduce resource consumption and to engage more effectively and actively with its citizens. Cities are unique in their signature approaches to ensuring the livability of their communities while they continuously strive to improve the economic prosperity of their citizens. Being selected by Envision America will help Spokane further define what a smart city means for its community.