Birmingham one step closer to being chosen as one of five Smart Cities

Birmingham one step closer to being chosen as one of five Smart Cities
Vulcan statue is a popular landmark that sits high above Birmingham. (Carol Highsmith, Library of Congress)

Birmingham is a semifinalist to become a Smart City.

The Magic City was named one of 10 cities that could potentially win a readiness grant and advance to the finalist round as part of the Smart Cities Challenge. An announcement of the five finalist communities is expected Wednesday.

Birmingham in its submission focused on the environment, energy and transportation and partnered with other entities including Jefferson County, Alabama Power and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Smart Cities grants help cities tackle local challenges and improve services and connectivity by weaving in technological advances through “Readiness Workshops.”

In order to advance to the finalist round, cities had to develop a thorough plan to advance innovation efforts in their communities. As part of their submission, cities had to demonstrate a comprehensive approach to implementation that advances livability, workability and sustainability.

Birmingham is one of 10 cities that advanced to the semifinals for the Smart Cities Challenge grant. (contributed)

The White House, through its smart cities initiative, made these grants available September 2016. Cities all over the country applied, and 10 semifinalists were chosen.

The other semifinalist cities are:

    • Austin, Texas
    • Chula Vista, California
    • Indianapolis
    • Jersey City, New Jersey
    • Miami
    • Newport News, Virginia
    • Orlando
    • Philadelphia
    • Providence, Rhode Island

“There’s a new feeling of excitement in Birmingham and that stems from progress,” said Birmingham Mayor William Bell.

The Smart Cities grant announcement will come just a few weeks after the Birmingham’s Civil Rights District was declared a National Monument, a move that is expected to bring a surge of tourists and federal resources.

[ Related: Civil Rights District declared a National Monument ]

To learn more about the Smart Cities initiative and Birmingham’s competition, visit their site.

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