Community Engagement

Smart Cities Challenge

Feb 26, 2018, 13:20 PM

SmartCitiesChallenge

The City of Nanaimo competed in Infrastructure Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge, an initiative for communities to address issues through community partnerships using data and connected technology.

Out of the two prize categories, one prize of $50 million or one of two prizes of $10 million, the City chose to compete for the $10 million prize. Unfortunately, we were not chosen as a finalist to further compete. We hope to try again next year. Thank you to those who submitted their ideas!   

In February and March 2018, we reached out to the community to tell us:

  1. What issue in our community do you think is most pressing, and
  2. How can we solve it or make improvements using data and technology?

The following ideas were submitted* to us through email and Facebook:

  1. To address transit not running on time, create a MyStop Service app  to provide real-time info on transit status. Submitted by Steve Wood.
  2. To create a better appreciation of the downtown area, create an app where users can view historical photos and information on the locations they walk by in the area. Submitted by Gerry Thomasen.
  3. To address the homeless crisis in Nanaimo, create an app that provides real-time social service organization information and uses GIS data. Submitted by Patti Novak.
  4. To address issues with the layout of Nanaimo, use GPS/GIS to map out problem areas for rezoning. Submitted by Holly Frost.
  5. To address transparency in government spending, create an app that live streams public spending. Submitted by Joseph G Chandler.
  6. To increase active transportation in Nanaimo, use smart technology to develop a data collection system to help better plan future active transportation networks. Submitted by Jamie Rose.
  7. Submitted Ideas through Facebook

In March and April of 2018 we took your ideas and found that two themes emerged; Active Transportation and Nanaimo's Housing Crisis.  From those themes, we developed two potential projects for Council to choose from:

  • Active Transportation
    Use smart technology to develop a data collection system to track active transportation movements, and to provide staff with better tools when planning infrastructure upgrades in order to double our active transportation trips by 2041.
  • Nanaimo's Housing Crisis
    An online application enabling social service organizations to share real time information with each other and with Nanaimo’s most vulnerable individuals. Individuals would be able to have 24-hour access to housing, services, resources and supports. This app could be accessed not only using mobile devices but with outdoor interactive kiosks located across the city.

At the April 23, 2018 Regular Council meeting, Council chose to move forward with the project addressing Nanaimo's Housing Crisis, and staff then submitted the application to Infrastructure Canada on April 24, 2018. 

For more information on the Smart Cities Challenge, visit Infrastructure Canada’s website.

Some examples of how Nanaimo uses data and connected technology to be a Smart City include:

  • Free WiFi in City facilities
  • Report a park or public works problem using the Nanaimo Recycles app - download on App Store or Google Play
  • Using GPS in City vehicles to better train and encourage efficient driving practices
  • Using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to manage assets and infrastructure and provide relevant information to residents and businesses through online apps such as What's Building in My Neighbourhood.
  • Facilitating public conversations using custom eTown Hall software

Resources

Infrastructure Canada's Smart Cities Challenge

Definition of a Smart City

Idea Submission Form

Presentation to Council - April 11, 2018 [pdf]

Council's motion to support Nanaimo's housing crisis for Smart Cities Challenge

Report to Finance and Audit Committee - April 11 [pdf]

* Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA) Information collected on this form is done so under the general authority of the Community Charter and FOIPPA, and is protected in accordance with FOIPPA.  Personal information will only be used by authorized staff to fulfill the purpose for which it was originally collected, or for a use consistent with that purpose.

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