Greater Phoenix Smart Region Initiative Unifies Stakeholders To Create Digital Roadmap

A new project, the Greater Phoenix Smart Region Initiative, is a public-private nonprofit partnership that includes the Arizona State University Center for Smart Cities and Regions (CSCR), the Arizona Institute for Digital Progress (IDP), and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. CSCR and IDP will create a smart cities digital road map with the expectation allowing cities in the Phoenix area to benefit from greater regional cooperation, workforce development, and leading academic research.

“Through the road map, a set of region-wide key priorities will be developed to encompass some of the most pressing issues that we’re facing,” Dominic Papa, executive director for IDP said.

The initiative will work on issues like autonomous vehicle use, policy and technology needed to combat rising temperatures, smart energy systems, and more.

“The Greater Phoenix Smart Region Initiative is being formed to build a system and framework that takes the approach of the smartest cities, and leverages the scale and testing capabilities of our entire region,” said Papa. “Both community and industry driven research and development are at the center of our smart region business model.”

“CSCR will provide the fundamental research piece to the collaboration. This will occur through a number of means and mechanisms, enabling CSCR to not only utilize the in-house expertise, but also those around ASU,” said Diana Bowman, director of CSCR and an associate professor with the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

The region’s biggest challenge lies in its inability to, “clearly elucidate our collective challenges, identify our strategic opportunities, and build consensus on key priorities for the region,” Papa said.

The initiative also plans to create the Arizona Urban iLabs – a connected network of “innovation sandboxes” throughout the region intended to foster collaborations across professions and stakeholders. The innovation sandbox will create a living lab environment where solutions can be tested and provide IoT infrastructure.