In Chula Vista, California, sustainability has traditionally been a marker of leadership and success. In 2012, Chula Vista was the first jurisdiction to completely retrofit their full streetlight inventory to LED technology, resulting in significant savings and enhanced public safety. They are currently in the process of retrofitting all outdoor lighting for city facilities with completion estimated in 2017.
Chula Vista Chief Sustainability Officer, Dennis Gakunga, directs the community’s smart city initiatives.
“Our whole approach is to lead by example. We’ve always been in front of sustainability and climate change,” Gakunga said. “When we think about smart cities, it’s about livability, and that’s where sustainability hits the mark.”
Today, the City of Chula Vista’s Bayfront area is undergoing major development under the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan (CVBMP). This is one of the largest waterfront developments on the West Coast of the United States at 535 acres and has been in planning for over a decade. The Bayfront project is a joint collaboration with a broad coalition of stakeholders, the Port of San Diego, and the City of Chula Vista. Black & Veatch was selected to conduct a smart waterfront assessment for the Bayfront project. Part of that assessment included establishing an innovation council, coordinated by Cleantech San Diego, whose role is to help advise the joint project team on the best hardware and software potential future solutions.
When complete, the project, will meet specific mandates around energy efficiency, which means examining foundational infrastructure, high performance buildings, and scalability.
“We looked at what exists in the market today around energy and telecommunications, data layers and smart city platforms,” Gakunga said. “As we move to the design phase, we intend to incorporate as many of those aspects as possible: public kiosks, smart lighting, smart parking, vehicle automation, and electrification of vehicles.”
Chula Vista is the second largest city in San Diego County and prides itself on being nimble, able to implement and push initiatives forward quickly. “The impact of our actions is significant, but we have the flexibility to get things done quickly,” Gakunga said as he reflects upon his community’s uniqueness.
For example, Chula Vista, as part of a joint proposal between San Diego Association of Governments and Caltrans, was named one of ten autonomous vehicle proving grounds in the United States by the Department of Transportation, in January 2017.
Expect great things from this roughly 250,000-person community. Although small compared to most progressive smart cities, Chula Vista mightily leads the way in sustainability, collaborative partnerships, and civic engagement.
Stay in touch and learn more: http://www.chulavistaca.gov. You can also catch Dennis Gakunga speaking at Smart Cities Connect Conference and Expo this June or at the March webinar “The Power of Regional Smart City Partnership.”