NYC, Wuhan and Albuquerque win smart city awards

The Smart City Expo World Congress recognized cities using technology to address climate change, internet access and housing challenges.

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Although some government leaders hit the pause button on smart city projects during COVID-19, there was still plenty of innovative work going on around the globe. The Smart City Expo World Congress recognized 33 cities, individuals and projects for making communities around the world more livable, sustainable and economically viable.

There are nine award categories that cover everything from city leaders to mobility and safety:

  • City
  • Leadership
  • Innovation Recovery
  • Enabling Technologies
  • Energy and Environment 
  • Mobility
  • Governance and Economy
  • Living and Inclusion
  • Safety and Security

Here’s a look at four of the projects that used technology to improve safety and connectivity. 

NYC Internet Master Plan

This project is a $157 million investment in closing the digital divide. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in October a plan to reach up to 1.6 million New Yorkers in the next 36 months and build publicly owned, open-access broadband infrastructure. The City also has designated big and small companies to provide fast, reliable and affordable connectivity options to an additional 70,000 residents in public housing and 150,000 residents in the surrounding communities by early 2022.

Wuhan’s revitalization after COVID-19

Wuhan City was one of the first places to pilot smart city technology in China, as well as the initial epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time and since, the city has used the wide application of big data intelligence in urban governance and promotes economic recovery after the pandemic. The city’s Wet Market Upgrade project addressed the impact of the pandemic on public spaces like farmer’s markets. To make residents feel safer using the markets, the facilities were retrofitted to improve waste management and ventilation, and to digitize the weighing of fresh produce and allowing source tracing.

Smart traffic solutions in Valdosta, GA

In 2020, the city used a Georgia Smart Communities Challenge grant to test a smart traffic management system that connected all 128 of the city’s traffic lights. The idea was to improve safety, connectivity and efficiency for emergency responders and everyday drivers. The city installed an Emergency Vehicle Signal Preemption system on fire trucks to give the vehicles priority when responding to a fire. The city’s TravelSafely app notifies users of upcoming signal changes and approaching emergency vehicles.

Modernizing water infrastructure in Albuquerque

The city worked with Cisco to improve overall operation of its water infrastructure and strengthen cybersecurity defenses as well. The water authority used Cisco industrial ethernet switches and switching platforms to connect water sensors throughout its infrastructure. The authority also installed a Cisco Industrial Security Appliance 3000 for advanced threat protection. Finally, Cisco Cyber Vision to make it easier to manage and monitor programmable logic controllers, human machine interfaces and other OT components of the system.

NYC, Wuhan and Albuquerque win smart city awards

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