How Can Atlanta Become a Smart City?

Maggie Comstock looks at what it takes to be considered a "Smart City", and asks what an organizationally and infrastructurally challenged city like Atlanta can do to raise its IQ.

For Comstock, the established definitions of a smart city, based on technologically advanced or socially inclusive characteristics are inadequate. Her broader definition sounds somewhat like smart growth, and a lot like sustainable development: "At its most basic level, a city is comprised of a government (in some form), people, industry, infrastructure, education and social services. A smart city thoughtfully and sustainably pursues development with all of these components in mind with the additional foresight of the future needs of the city."

By these metrics, Comstock evaluates whether established, sprawling cities such as Atlanta can "boost its IQ." She turns to two initiatives that she argues are paving the way for "smarter and more sustainable habits."

"As for Atlanta, the USGBC Atlanta Branch of the Georgia Chapter has done a stellar job on this front, including facilitating the passage of a LEED green building policy for public sector buildings. The City of Atlanta has since signed up to be one of the three pilot cities for the President's Better Buildings Challenge, which charges cities to make commercial buildings 20% more energy efficient by 2020 and to accelerate private sector investment in energy efficiency."

While these measures are certainly smart, they seem to stretch the established "smart city" definitions to the breaking point.

Perhaps it's just time to choose some new buzzwords.

Full Story: What is a Smart City and How Can a City Boost Its IQ?


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