The last 31 of 100 cities eligible for Smarter Cities Challenge grants from IBM have just been named. Among them: Belfast; Cape Town, South...

The last 31 of 100 cities eligible for Smarter Cities Challenge grants from IBM have just been named.

Among them: Belfast; Cape Town, South Africa; Christchurch, New Zealand; Foshan, China; Jeju, Korea; Lagos, Nigeria; Makati City, Philippines; Québec City, Canada; Reno, US; and Valparaiso, Chile.

“This was a difficult decision because so many cities made strong cases to earn our time and talent,” said Stanley S. Litow, IBM vice president of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, and president of IBM’s Foundation. “But the winners distinguished themselves among their peers by convincingly demonstrating their preparation and willingness to make the kind of improvements that will improve their residents’ quality of life and make their cities even smarter.”

Launched in 2011, the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge is a three-year program offering a total of $50 million in grant funding to cities around the world. To win a grant, a city must propose an innovative project or strategy that addresses such issues as:

  • Challenges facing the local economy and workforce (for example, reducing the area’s dependence on a single primary industry);
  • Social services (such as creating systems that support independent living for a growing senior population);
  • Sustainability (initiatives could include establishing plans for electric vehicle use, incorporating solar power into a smart energy grid or setting policies on electricity billing rates);
  • Capital budget planning (efforts here might include helping citizens request specific city expenditures while also analyzing the potential impact of such expenses); and
  • Urban planning (for instance, finding more systematic, data-driven ways to make decisions on housing policies, downtown revitalization, zoning and permits).

Every city chosen for the Smarter Cities Challenge gets a three-week consulting engagement with an IBM team that has studied the community’s issues in advance. Each team works with city officials to analyze data, gather inputs from dozens of local agencies and advocacy groups, and then make recommendations for efficiently and effectively addressing the city’s key sustainability issue.

Other cities chosen for 2013 grants include:

  • Buffalo, US;
  • Burlington, US;
  • Chennai, India;
  • Copenhagen, Denmark;
  • Date, Japan;
  • Foshan, China;
  • Fresno, US;
  • Gurgaon, India;
  • Khon Kaen, Thailand;
  • Knoxville, US;
  • Lagos, Nigeria;
  • Lodz, Poland;
  • Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia;
  • Pingtung County, Taiwan;
  • Porto Alegre, Brazil;
  • Richmond, US;
  • Stavanger, Norway;
  • Trujillo, Peru;
  • Tucson, US;
  • Vitória, Brazil;
  • Waterloo, Canada.