Harvesting stormwater, using behavioral economics to inform policy and installing solar panels are just some of the smart city initiatives that mayoral candidates across the country are running on in advance of the Nov. 5 elections.
Mayors and mayoral candidates have carved out their own definition of "smart" to cater to their city's most pressing needs.
Smart Cities Dive gathered insights from four leaders running for the top office in their cities to learn how their definition of a "smart city" has evolved since they first took office and what residents can expect from their smart city policies in the future.
"There's an awful lot we can do in the economic development space. A big part of this work for Smart Columbus has been the integrated data exchange. That'll be a very critical tool to develop a true multimodal transit system with transit options. We're excited about finishing that exchange, building upon our success, and figuring out how we take the next step in this journey."
— Columbus, OH Mayor Andrew Ginther. Read the full Q&A with Ginther here.
"What I saw was that in the city of Tucson, the areas where I represent had [less] investment [than] other areas of the city. So when I first ran, my mentality was [that] we want better roads, we want investment in our parks, [and] we want investment in our neighborhoods. It was what I call 'back to basics,' very simple. And as I've matured as a city councilwoman and have matured in how I see what policy affects the quality of life of Tucsonans, I have a platform that is much more thorough. It's about enhancing mobility, addressing climate change… becoming a climate resilient city and adapting and enhancing economic opportunity for all in our city."
— Tucson, AZ mayoral candidate Regina Romero. Read the full Q&A with Romero here.
"Our definition of smart has everything to do with trying to be innovative, and to look at the things we're doing in the city of Durham, constantly figure out how we're going to do them better and use social science to help us do it. What I really mean in terms of social science [are] things like behavioral economics where we’re trying to take the insights of behavioral economics in order to assist us in making good policy."
— Durham, NC Mayor Steve Schewel. Read the full Q&A with Schewel here.
"The industry is continually changing in terms of technology, smart city platforms, [and] availability of a wide variety of choices, in just the four years that I've been mayor. If you go back a few years prior to that, there weren't that many cities talking about smart city platforms.
[We've] maybe at times struggled a bit to figure out what platform... can move us forward on a number of smart city initiatives. Smart city is such a large umbrella. When you say that now, it doesn't define much anymore because there's so much that can be captured by just saying 'smart city.'
We're working to synchronize our signalization through the city. There’s other opportunities that we can use as we put in the kind of technology that we need to synchronize... we're continually looking at what’s the best fit for a city our size."
— Wichita, KS Mayor Jeff Longwell. Read the full Q&A with Longwell here.