City of Newark one of 24 cities worldwide to receive IBM SMARTER CITIES CHALLENGE GRANT
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City of Newark one of 24 cities worldwide to receive IBM SMARTER CITIES CHALLENGE GRANT

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March 10, 2011, 3:30 pm
Newark
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Grant gives Newark access to IBM’s top experts to analyze and recommend ways City can become an even better place in which to live, work, and play
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Newark, NJ – March 10, 2011 - Mayor Cory A. Booker announced today that IBM has selected Newark to receive an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant.  The grant provides Newark with access to IBM’s top experts to analyze and recommend ways Newark can become an even better place in which to live, work and play.  The approximate value of each Smarter Cities Challenge grant is equivalent to as much as $400,000.

The IBM Smarter Cities Challenge is a competitive grant program in which IBM is awarding a total of $50 million worth of technology and services to 100 municipalities worldwide over the next three years.  Teams of specially selected IBM experts will provide city leaders with analysis and recommendations to support successful growth, better delivery of municipal services, more citizen engagement, and improved efficiency.

“Newark is honored to have been selected as one of the winners of this competitive grant process, which drew more than 200 applications from cities around the globe. Our team is excited to put the grant's resources to work in support of our efforts to leverage technology and make our government more efficient and effective. IBM's experts are second to none, and will bring a wealth of experience, proven approaches from other cities, and fresh ideas that will help us better deliver services to our citizens,” said Mayor Booker.

IBM selected cities that made the strongest case for participating in the Smarter Cities Challenge. During these engagements, IBM technical experts, researchers and consultants immerse themselves in local issues and offer a range of options and recommended next-steps. Among the issues they examine are healthcare, safety, social services, transportation, communications, sustainability, budget management, energy, and utilities. “We selected Newark because of its commitment to the use of data to make better decisions, and for its desire to explore and act on smarter solutions to their most pressing concerns,” said Jennifer Crozier, Director, IBM Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs. “The cities we picked are eager to implement programs that tangibly improve the quality of life in their areas, and to create roadmaps for other cities to follow. The stakes have never been greater but we’re excited at the prospect of helping cities tackle the most pressing challenges of our time.”

IBM’s consultants and technology specialists will help municipalities analyze and prioritize their needs, review strengths and weaknesses, and learn from the successful strategies used by other cities worldwide. After studying the role that intelligent technology might play in uniting and advancing different aspects of city life, IBM then outlines a range of concrete strategies designed to help make cities healthier, safer, smarter, more prosperous, and attractive to current and prospective residents and businesses.

A consistent theme in these projects is the collecting, sharing, analyzing and acting on data generated by urban interactions and transactions. Such information can include everything from smartphone adoption, crime statistics, foot and vehicle traffic, to tax revenue and library usage. Correlations are then made that link seemingly unrelated aspects of urban life to develop innovative and cost effective strategies to address persistent challenges.

During Smarter Cities Challenge engagements, IBM will help recipients become comfortable using a free Web site called City Forward (http://www.cityforward.org).  The site gives policy makers, citizen-advocates and the public a new perspective on how their respective cities are performing compared with others.  It serves up easy-to-use data to help them make more informed decisions that improve services and make their citizens and businesses healthier, happier, safer, more productive and prosperous.

It captures vital statistics on the performance of many specific services such as safety, health, transportation, land use, utilities, energy, environment, personal income, spending, population growth and employment.  Users can then gather, compare, analyze, visualize, and discuss statistical trends, giving them real-world insight that can help shape public policy.

The need for better city management has never been greater.  In 2008, according to the United Nations, more than half the world’s human population began living in cities for the first time in the world's history.

Smarter Cities Challenge draws upon IBM’s intrinsic technological savvy, but also upon the field experience accumulated by IBM over the last three years from the company's ongoing pro bono Corporate Service Corps grant program.  Corporate Service Corps has deployed 100 teams of 1,000 top IBM employees from around the world with skills in technology, scientific research, marketing, finance, and business development.  They work with local government, non profit civic groups, and small business to develop blueprints that intersect business, technology, and society.

Smarter Cities Challenge is sponsored by the international philanthropic foundation at IBM, which has been a leader in corporate social responsibility and corporate citizenship for 100 years.  For more information about the Smarter Cities Challenge grant program, can visit http://www.smartercitieschallenge.org.  To learn more about IBM’s corporate citizenship initiatives, please visit: http://www.ibm.com/blogs/citizen-ibm

For more information on this or any other City of Newark program or policy, contact the Non-Emergency Call Center at (973) 733-4311.

Author: Joao Vianna
Website designer, programmer and database administrator, Web TV Producer, writer and commentator
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