Today in civic tech: City of Toronto launches Civic Hall Toronto, IBI Group launches Smart City Sandbox


This week, several organizations got together to launch new supports for startups working to build a smart city. Here’s our roundup for the week.

City of Toronto, Code for Canada, CSI launch Civic Hall Toronto

The City of Toronto, the Centre for Social Innovation, and national nonprofit Code for Canada have launched Civic Hall Toronto, a space for government, entrepreneurs, and citizens to collaborate on city problems.

“Civic Hall Toronto will bring together City teams and outside innovators to collaborate on solutions to better serve our residents,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory. “I look forward to seeing the results of this work and the introduction of new tools and approaches to improve the way we work on behalf of the people of Toronto.”

Inspired by similar programs in cities like New York and Paris, Civic Hall Toronto offers a mix of services for members, including networking and training opportunities, events, access to the collaboration space, and custom support like user testing and design sprints.

“New ideas need new spaces, where collaboration and ‘outside the box’ thinking are encouraged,” said Civic Hall Toronto program manager Shea Sinnott. “Civic Hall Toronto will break down silos, unite passionate and talented people with an interest in civic innovation, and enable the best ideas to be shared across sectors.”

Civic Hall Toronto’s membership includes teams from the City of Toronto, the province of Ontario, and the City of Markham. The space will be operated out of the Centre for Social Innovation.

IBI Group launches Smart City Sandbox with EllisDon, The Weather Network, and Slate

This week, IBI Group announced the launch of the Smart City Sandbox in Toronto, in partnership with EllisDon, The Weather Network, Slate, and Ontario Power Generation.

Microsoft is acting as a technology partner. The Sandbox will designate space at IBI Group’s Toronto headquarters for startups, and will provide expertise in urban environments and construction, access to Azure for technology development and testing, and analytics based on citizen data. The space will also give companies the chance to demo new products and solutions in properties owned and managed by EllisDon, and access to real-world building systems and data for testing and validation.

“As a firm that has technology embedded in its DNA — having designed some of the first intelligent transportation systems in the world — and as designers of the built form, we see both a need and an opportunity to create new ways to enhance the operations and the experiences of cities,” said IBI Group CEO Scott Stewart. “We have great talent in our core business, but we also know having an open network of collaborators, with partners representing all aspects of the urban environment, is where the best solutions and ideas will come from. Armed with our unique domain knowledge around how cities operate, we are well-positioned to lead this exciting initiative.”

The Sandbox will accept its first cohort in September 2018.

Photo via Unsplash.

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang

Freelance tech writer. Former BetaKit News Editor.

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