Smart Communities, Smart Cities

B.C. Smart Communities

Smart communities (also known as “smart cities”) are communities that use connected technology and data to improve their infrastructure. For example, city planners may monitor traffic and transportation systems for data trends and then implement systems to reduce travel times, bottle necks and accidents.

Smart communities have the potential to greatly enhance community life – how people respond to climate change, how they move around, how they earn a living, how they learn and are empowered to participate in society, and how they create safe and welcoming public spaces.

The smart communities global market is predicted to have a value of up to $1.6 trillion by 2020 and presents an opportunity for exports and economic growth (source: Bank of America Merrill Lynch -“21st Century Cities: Global Smart Cities Primer Picks”, May 2017).

The Provincial Smart Communities Pilot

B.C. is home to a number of organizations that support smart communities, including the provincial Crown agency, Innovate BC, and its regional accelerators.

The Province is supporting B.C. communities in their adoption of smart community technologies. This in turn supports B.C.’s tech and innovation sector, improves municipal infrastructure, and contributes to economic development.

To ensure smart communities become more than a concept, and that all communities benefit from new technologies and innovation, the Government of B.C. launched a Smart Communities pilot program.  

Smart Communities pilot project participants build upon current infrastructure and support one or more of the following:

  • Economic diversity and growth

  • Energy efficiency and climate change mitigation

  • Engaged citizens

  • Efficient transportation and mobility

  • Community resiliency and safety

BC Smart Communities Finalists

On November 8, 2018, the finalists for the Smart Communities Pilot Project were announced:

  • The District of Logan Lake will receive $38,650

  • The City of Port Alberni will receive $28,800

  • The City of Prince Rupert will receive $22,120

  • The municipalities of Castlegar, Nelson, Rossland and Trail will receive a total of $40,000 for a joint proposal

Four projects will be developed that will improve safety and enhance civic and volunteer engagement. The projects include:

  • a mobile app, so that people can access timely emergency information

  • an online platform linking local volunteers with non-profit and charity groups

  • an online engagement platform to help people participate in local government decision-making

  • a mobile app for information on road safety, accidents and road closures in the region

To learn more about the pilot program, please contact the Smart Communities Pilot Project Team.  

Federal Smart Cities Challenge

The Government of Canada has issued a $300-million Smart Cities Challenge to communities across Canada, urging them to use data and connected technologies to address their most pressing problems. To learn about the federal Smart Cities Challenge, visit Infrastructure Canada’s website.