- The Obama Administration announced Monday that it would invest $80 million in smart city technology, with a focus on autonomous vehicles and sensors that can warn residents of imminent natural disaster or extreme weather conditions, according to Morning Consult.
- The $80 million includes $15 million for energy and climate change research and will support a Department of Energy data analytics project designed to reduce the energy footprint of 1,800 buildings (49 million square feet) by 8%.
- The White House said this latest commitment of resources is a continuation of what it started with its Smart Cities Initiative, a program that encourages the public and private sectors to work together to develop and implement technologies geared toward making cities a better and cleaner living environment for all socioeconomic classes.
Another beneficiary of the White House pledge is the National Science Foundation, which will receive part of a $15 million grant dedicated to urban transportation. These initiatives and others were announced in conjunction with the start of Smart Cities Week. The DOE also announced its Better Communities Alliance (BCA) initiative, which involves 34 local governments and 26 public and private organizations pushing for more clean-energy advancements. The DOE said cities will consume 87% of all energy used in the U.S. by 2030, so participants will commit themselves to reducing waste, using more renewable energy, providing more sustainable transportation options, utilizing new energy-saving technologies and investing in resilient power and infrastructure systems.
Last month, developers 22 Capital Partners announced that AECOM's Tishman Construction and Virginia-based TRINITY Construction would build Gramercy District, a 2.5 million-square-foot, $500 million smart city in Ashburn, VA. Joining Tishman and TRINITY are teams from George Washington University and Microsoft, which will take the lead on the technology side of the development. Developers said the goal of the project is to create "a seamless integration of technology and real estate" where people who live and work there can use their smart phones and other devices to interact with the development around them.
Google is also keen on smart cities and announced tentative plans for its Sidewalk Labs division to build a smart city district within an unnamed existing city. The company said this "proving ground" for cities of the future would feature state-of-the-art infrastructure and self-driving cars, but Sidewalk has seemingly limited its options by insisting on a location that would provide a large, developable area but would not require it to comply with local building codes.