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Mayor Angel Taveras (center,right) asked IBM to develop a data driven land management use strategy to help with economic development in Providence, Rhode Island.
IBM has selected 33 cities worldwide to receive IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grants in 2012. The Smarter Cities Challenge, now in its second year, is IBM's single largest philanthropic initiative, valued at US $50 million. Over three years, the program is deploying teams of top IBM experts to work with 100 cities around the world.

During immersive, 3-week engagements, teams of five to six experts in a range of disciplines work in their host cities to deliver detailed recommendations addressing key urban issues identified by local elected officials and other stakeholders.

The cities that have been selected are all different, but they had one clear similarity: the strong personal commitment by the city's leadership to put in place the changes
"The cities that have been selected are all different, but they had one clear similarity: the strong personal commitment by the city's leadership to put in place the changes needed to help the city make smarter decisions"

needed to help the city make smarter decisions, said Stanley S. Litow, IBM vice president of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, and president of IBM's International Foundation. "These cities demonstrated a desire to set an example for other municipalities, an
eagerness to collaborate with multiple stakeholders, and a strong commitment to consider implementing recommendations the city felt would be the most feasible and beneficial to their residents."

Through a competitive selection process, cities identified their top priorities for collaboration with IBM. Winning proposals covered a diverse range of topic ideas including using inhaler and air quality data to identify and reduce the risk of asthma; more precisely measuring vehicle miles to help lower pollution levels; harmonizing bus, rail, bicycle, car and pedestrian modes of transportation; and creating innovative economic and workforce development strategies.
Recommendations made by IBM to 24 year-one Smarter Cities Challenge grant recipients in 2011, and to seven pilot cities in 2010, are already making a real impact. For example, as a direct result of IBM's work, the following cities have made changes to public policy, or launched important new initiatives that address longstanding issues. These include:
  • Glasgow, Scotland (U.K.) is now subsidizing the heating bills of some of its seniors with the proceeds of clean-energy projects
  • Mecklenburg County, North Carolina (U.S.) has signed agreements with all its municipalities to develop a consolidated capital budget planning process
  • St. Louis, Missouri (U.S.) now more systematically coordinates efforts among agencies involved with public safety
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (U.S.) launched a lifetime-learning initiative that promotes ongoing workforce development for better jobs
  • Edmonton, Alberta (Canada) now analyzes traffic data more rigorously to improve road safety
  • Chicago, Illinois (U.S.) will partner with corporations to open five technology schools that blend high school and community college to provide marketable skills
While the proposed projects were diverse, a common denominator throughout the winning projects was the willingness to exchange ideas and data freely among citizens, elected officials, non-profits, businesses and city agencies so cities can make more informed and collaborative decisions.

To further this collaboration, IBM will provide each of the winning cities with special assistance through City Forward. City Forward is a free, online site IBM created with public policy experts to help citizens, elected officials and urban officials explore trends and statistics in a visual and accessible way.

Smarter Cities Challenge grew out of the IBM Corporate Service Corps grants program, which deploys teams of top employees to the developing world to work on projects that combine business, technology and society. Since the launch of Corporate Service Corps in 2008, nearly 1,400 IBM employees based in 50 countries have been dispatched on more than 140 team assignments in 24 countries.

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. To learn more about IBM's corporate citizenship initiatives, please visit: the Citizen IBM blog .
Accra, Ghana
Ahmedabad, India
Atlanta, United States
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Boston, United States
Cheongju, Korea
Chonburi, Thailand
Curitiba, Brazil
Đà Nẵng, Vietnam
Dortmund, Germany
Durham, United States
Eindhoven, Netherlands
Geraldton, Australia
Houston, United States
Ishinomaki, Japan
Jacksonville, United States
Jurong Lake District, Singapore
Louisville, United States
Málaga, Spain
Medellín, Colombia
Nanjing, China
Nairobi, Kenya
New Taipei City, Taiwan
Omaha, United States
Ottawa, Canada
Pittsburgh, United States
Pune, India
Rabat, Morocco
Rosario, Argentina
Siracusa, Italy
Surrey, Canada
Tshwane, South Africa
Toluca, Mexico