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Shouldn’t All Virginia Cities Be “Smarter Cities?”

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Last year, I wrote about the the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge and argued that Virginia cities (and counties) like Arlington should apply. Now, according to this article, “the application process has just been opened up for 2012.” What’s involved here?

This is a program whereby IBM will award $50 million worth of technology and consulting services to 100 cities around the world – 50 of them in North America.

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The Smarter Cities grant would be helpful in dealing with any number of challenges that [Arlington, Virginia Beach, Richmond, or Roanoke] face, ranging from from finding ways to streamline city administration to helping transit management through innovative technology applications. IBM sends experts to the winning cities to help them address major issues like traffic, public safety, economic development or sustainability – all things that could prove useful.

Making our cities “smarter” through the use of innovative technology sure seems like a cost-effective way for us to deal with the enormous energy, economic, and environmental challenges facing our state, our country, and our planet. To apply, click here and fill it out by December 16. An example of a successful application is the one by Syracuse, New York. Good stuff.

Meanwhile, since we’re on the theme of using technology to make our lives better, check out Wireless for America, which is a campaign for the government to build more wireless infrastructure, “to make broadband available to 98 percent of Americans,” and by doing so “to lay the foundation for education, innovation and equal opportunity in the 21st century.” Right now, believe it or not, ” our country ranks No. 15 in broadband penetration” and “No. 26 in broadband speed, behind countries such as South Korea and even Romania.” Obviously, that’s not acceptable. Instead, building a 4th generation national wireless network would help rural and also urban communities economically and in many other ways. Which is why, just as with the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge, expanding broadband access is something that Virginia’s leadership should be pushing hard for with their contacts in Washington, DC.