Future Cities Canada, a national initiative aiming to accelerate the transformation of open smart cities, has launched The Community Solutions Network, a new platform for communities across Canada to connect and promote excellence in the creation of smart cities.
“The Community Solutions Network provides the valuable information about open smart cities issues and approaches that are accessible to everyone.”
The network is being led by Evergreen, a national non-profit and Future Cities’ Canada’s spearhead. Evergreen is collaborating with technical partners like OpenNorth, a company that builds websites to promote government transparency and public participation. Evergreen intends to help municipal and community leaders traverse the open smart cities landscape with consultative services and event-based programs.
“The Community Solutions Network is based on a Canadian vision of city-building that responds to the opportunities presented by open smart cities,” said Martin Canning, executive director of Smart Cities at Evergreen. “In an increasingly technologically advanced world, this unique approach to smart cities can be a global example in how communities develop innovative and creative solutions.”
The program is being supported by the Smart Cities Community Support Program of Infrastructure Canada, and runs alongside the federal government’s Smart Cities Challenge, a cross-Canada competition that encourages communities to adopt a smart cities approach to improve the lives of residents through innovation, data, and connected technology. In the fall of 2018, the Government of Canada announced that Evergreen was selected to receive up to $4.6 million in funding over two years from the Smart Cities Community Support Program.
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The Community Solutions Network supports communities of all sizes, including Northern and Indigenous communities, by connecting them to other Canadian cities, partners and cross-sector participants. Some of the network’s advisement and event-based programs include idea camps, collision days, roundtables, and the 2019 Future Cities Canada Summit. Through these programs, the network is looking to impart knowledge, lessons learned, and best practices to build awareness about emerging open smart cities issues like data management, privacy and security.
“Open smart cities are much broader than data and connected technology,” said Jean-Noé Landry, executive director of OpenNorth. “The Community Solutions Network provides the valuable information about open smart cities issues and approaches that are accessible to everyone so that every community can adapt and execute a vision that is best for the city and its residents.”
This spring, the network is making information about smart cities issues and approaches available and accessible to the public. An advisory service is currently being offered to Smart Cities Challenge finalists with a focus on community-readiness resources and personalized support. In the summer, the network plans to participate with a larger range of communities, in addition to Smart Cities Challenge finalists. The event-based programs will begin in late spring.