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Atlanta Leading Smart Cities Charge

Atlanta continues to invest in Smart City technology.

Building off its previous Smart Cities Challenge, the Obama administration recently announced a series of new projects. The new initiative includes an investment of more than $160 million in Federal research and will create technology collaborations to help local communities tackle challenges including traffic, crime, and economic growth.

The Department of Energy announces its Better Communities Alliance (BCA), which focuses on creating cleaner and smarter communities through a DOE-led network of cities and counties. With the BCA, which is a part of the larger Better Buildings Initiative, the DOE is trying to give cities and communities focused on developing and implementing clean technology access to important resources from the DOE and AmeriCorps. The DOE will bring together key stakeholders to promote needed knowledge exchange and collaboration, while also streamlining access to community-focused DOE resources and funding through coordinated assistance across programs and a common digital portal.

Atlanta already has a strong reputation for being focused on improving its environmental impact and using technology to achieve that goal. The city currently holds the top spot in the country in the Better Buildings Initiative, with 104 million square feet of building space committed to reducing energy and water usage by 20 percent by 2020, according to the mayor’s office. The city reported earlier this year that it had already met the water reduction goal.

“We are proud to be one of 60 partners joining the Better Communities Alliance committed to delivering energy efficient and sustainable solutions,” said Stephanie Stuckey Benfield, the director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, in a press release. “The City of Atlanta currently leads nationally in the Better Buildings Initiative, and is uniquely positioned to offer insight to the alliance’s peer network. We are also excited to learn from other partners innovative approaches to accelerating local clean energy progress.”

According to the Mayor’s office, the city intends to use the BCA to continue its efforts to educate and encourage residents and businesses to reduce wasted energy in homes and buildings, as well as expand renewable energy and sustainable transportation options, harness new energy-saving technologies, and invest in resilient power systems and community infrastructure.

Atlanta also joined 20 other cities in the newly formed Council of Global City Chief Information Officers. The new initiative is focused on ensuring responsible and equitable deployment of smart city technologies. The effort, according to a White House press release, has three primary goals:

  • Provide a common framework to help governments develop and expand policies and procedures related to the Internet of Things.
  • Ensure openness and transparency regarding the use of public space or assets for smart city technologies.
  • Advance the public dialogue about how government, the private sector and academia can collaborate to ensure these technologies are used in a way that maximizes public benefit.

“Cities and counties are already centers for clean energy innovation across the United States,” said Franklin Orr, DOE’s Under Secretary for Science and Energy. “Through the Better Communities Alliance, DOE is committed to further supporting America’s local governments and working with leaders from the public and private sectors to deliver energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainable transportation solutions that create cleaner and more prosperous communities for millions of Americans.”

Kate DeNardi
About Kate DeNardi
Kate DeNardi is 21st Century State & Local's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs
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