John S and James L Knight Foundation Grants $1.2M to 6 Smart Cities

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation recently announced a grant of $1.2 million in support to six cities – Akron; Boston; Detroit; Miami; Philadelphia; and San José to explore how the Internet of Things (IoT) can be installed in cities in responsible and equitable ways.

“As cities increasingly use the Internet of Things to reduce costs, increase sustainability and improve services, we need to be acutely aware of its impact — both good and bad,” said John S. Bracken, Knight Foundation vice president for technology innovation. “These cities will help create a model and guidelines for the thoughtful and responsible use of IoT, linking its development to the public’s benefit.”

The city of Philadelphia plans to use the funds to create a smart city road-map based on feedback from “community groups, parents, educators, government agencies, religious organizations, the legal community” before investing in the technology.

Akron will develop a smart city strategy and undertake a pilot project to develop it. The city will use IoT technologies to overhaul the Main Street corridor in the downtown central business district, as part of the pilot.

Boston plans to create a process and platform for researchers, startups, and citizens to place sensing technologies in urban environments for research toward the public good.

Detroit will develop a strategic plan, including guidelines to implement, support and use IoT in Detroit, and create a catalog of Detroit’s existing IoT assets.

Miami will build on its resilience strategy, focusing on infrastructure mapping and strengthening its ability to share data with community partners.

San Jose will support IoT strategic planning, looking at where to invest, how to finance the necessary infrastructure, and how to regulate smart technology assets.