Philadelphia Focuses On Sustainability With Smart Cities Plan


Philadelphia has released its smart city roadmap. The development of the roadmap was led by the Office of Innovation and Technology and supported by a working group of more than a dozen city departments, as well as additional community-based organizations and universities and colleges. The roadmap will serve as a guide on how the City can adopt and leverage technology solutions to improve service delivery for Philadelphia’s broad and diverse community of residents, businesses, and visitors.

Alongside the release of the roadmap, Mayor Kenney signed an executive order to formally establish the SmartCityPHL initiative and the creation of the SmartCityPHL Advisory Committee. The 20 person committee will be tasked with looking at how to equitably implement smart city technology so it is available to residents in all neighborhoods and of all income levels.

“The SmartCityPHL Roadmap acknowledges that digital access and adoption remain significant hurdles among Philadelphia’s communities,” said Chief Information Officer Mark Wheeler. “The challenge is to ensure that Smart City technologies are available and meaningful for all our residents.”

The roadmap is an outgrowth of a $200,000 investment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation last year to develop a smart city strategy that would give clear and realistic guidelines on how the city could implement, support and utilize smart technology for the service of citizens.

The document outlines three core areas of focus for city leaders: building a strong policy foundation, fostering connections with community stakeholders, and supporting a wide range of funding types including grants and public-private partnerships. As such, the plan is not necessarily a list of future technology projects but more of a study about how Philadelphia works and could be improved down the line with savvy use of technology.

The roadmap also identifies an existing ecosystem of data, community organizations, and technology providers within Philadelphia that are of strategic importance to the smart city plan.

Notably, the roadmap also identifies ways to create sustainable funding sources for smart city projects such that the city can move beyond a patchwork of one-off pilot projects. The plan includes discussion of several innovative funding structures including performance contracts and expansion of asset leasing opportunities through the city.

The full roadmap is available here.