Smart City Projects Boston

smart city, megacities, open data, smart metering, smart grid projects, dossier, Boston USA, Strategy

With its Citizens Connect app, the Hub is showing how to use technology to empower citizens and involve them in the inner workings of the city.

The Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics in Boston is responsible for the three core programs that make up the city’s smart masterplan:

  1. Participatory Urbanism
  2. Clicks and Bricks
  3. 21st Century Learning

Participatory Urbanism

“Participatory urbanism” describes how smart technologies are fostering a new wave of citizen involvement in their community. The projects that form part of this program are intended to support the creation of new, citizen-centric products and services. Initiatives include:

  • Citizens Connect
    This smartphone application enables members of the population to make their neighborhoods better by giving them an easy tool to report service problems, starting with a pilot SMS version called “citizens connect txt.”

    • full-featured tool for enabling Boston’s residents to improve their neighborhoods by reporting issues such as potholes and graffiti.
      The reports are automatically fed into the City’s work order system so that they can be tracked and assigned to service teams.
    • Users can follow the status of their request, by using a unique tracking number for each case.
    • Residents can also share their reports with others, or tweet about them with their friends.
  • Community PlanIt
    A platform to explore how online platforms can complement in-person community meetings, as well as trying to reach audiences that might not attend community meetings.
    Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) is committed to working with the residents of Boston’s vibrant and diverse neighborhoods to break through the barriers to health – economic, social and cultural – so often encountered by the vulnerable individuals and families in our communities. Goals:

    • increase access to high-quality healthcare services
    • while addressing the social factors that lead to disparities in health outcomes
  • Innovation District: Welcome home challenge
    A competition focused on attracting and growing businesses in Boston’s Innovation District.

    • In the three years since the initiative began, the area has grown rapidly. The growth is spread across a diverse range of companies in different sectors and at different scales. Here are selected highlights of all we’ve accomplished in just a few short years:
      • Added over 5,000 new jobs in over 200 new companies
      • Technology companies have contributed 30% of new job growth
      • 21% of new jobs are in creative industries like design and advertising
      • Greentech + life sciences are growing, with 16% of new jobs in these sectors
      • Of the new companies, 11% are in the education and non-profit sectors
      • 40% of new companies are sharing space in co-working spaces and incubators
      • 25% of new companies are small scale, with 10 employees or fewer
  • Participatory Chinatown
    Participatory Chinatown is a video-game-like platform which aims to engage a broader range of people in informative and deliberative planning and development conversations.

    • Participatory Chinatown is a 3-D immersive game designed to be part of the master planning process for Boston’s Chinatown. You assume the role of one of 15 virtual residents and you work to complete their assigned quest – finding a job, housing, or place to socialize. But look out! Sometimes language skills, income level, or other circumstances can make your task more challenging. Whatever your experience, you’ll then be tasked with considering the future of the neighborhood by walking through and commenting on proposed development sites. Every one of your comments and decisions will be shared with real life decision-makers.
    • The game can be played either as a multi-player experience where players gather in a physical meeting hall, or as a single-player experience on the web.


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