Cincinnati [region] was built on; thrives on innovation. #SmartCincy

In 1819 Cincinnati was the first American city to become incorporated. City planners led in transportation and utility planning. In fact, the city was built to revolve around street cars and innovative public transit systems after the waterways began to be outpaced by terrestrial transportation options. (But I'll be writing about all of that at a later date.)

Until the mid-1900's the Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana region surrounding the City of Cincinnati was leading in sectors across the board from agriculture and manufacturing to transportation and education.

Then the city went into a bit of dark age. Pollution. Crumbling infrastructure. Economic and social divides. The mid-to-late 1900's were rough for Cincinnatians, and although it may apply, that is not a slight at Cincinnati sports teams.

In the early 2000's something happened. A spark downtown ignited something special that we are continuing to see evolve and develop. This effect was contagious; realized throughout the region in public and private sectors.

Before Startup Cincy was established leaders throughout the region made a dedicated commitment to revitalizing the heart of downtown Cincinnati to create a foundation that might enable innovation.

Today, that initial effort has seen an exponential increase in effect and significance. Cincinnati and the surrounding region is a top city in the nation, not just the midwest, for emerging innovations across sectors. The city is led by a diverse group of talented stakeholders committed to the betterment of the region. Residents are [once again] excited to brag about this great hometown.

As the smart cities conversation sweeps the nation, it's nearly impossible to overlook how Cincinnati is uniquely positioned to help create a global model for smart, regional growth. Government agencies, public-private partnerships, academic institutions, and private businesses are all stepping up in support of Smart Cincy: The Regional Smart Cities Initiative that is launching cohesive, collaborative efforts among stakeholders in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. The City of Cincinnati has already taken steps to make city data transparent and accessible. Groups like CONFLUENCE are working on clean water and clean air initiatives. Overall, there is momentum surrounding smart growth, but there is still a crippling divide caused by the lack of cohesiveness among stakeholders throughout the region.

With that in mind, Smart Cincy goals are simple.

  • Create a collective understanding of what a smart city should be.
  • Align regional interests around available resources and addressable opportunity areas.
  • Prompt smart action.

Did I mention that we are centrally located between other major innovations hubs? Collaboration will enable the nation's first smart region. Educating stakeholders and aligning interests starts on the ground with creating that understanding of what it takes to build a workable, livable city. A smart city that leads in connectivity, mobility, security, and sustainability.

  • Connectivity: connecting people, places, things, and information in real time. We must develop a cohesive understanding of how IoT and sensor technologies will impact smart growth.
  • Mobility: improving the mobility of people, goods, and utilities in order to directly enable and improve economic mobility for residents in every circumstance.
  • Security: auditing and improving public safety and cyber-security systems. A smart city is a safe city, after all.
  • Sustainability: encouraging sustainable practices in energy, transportation, manufacturing, and agriculture to enable sustainable food systems, conserve resources, and continue improving our quality of life.

The Regional Smart Cities Initiative will launch at The Smart Cincy Summit in April. Until then we will continue collaborations with regional leaders to help establish a model for smart growth as to continue in the Cincinnati tradition of thriving and leading in innovation.

If you're interested in chatting about smart cities or Smart Cincy ping me on LinkedIn or email hello@smartcincy.org.