Christchurch has been selected as a recipient of an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant (#smartercities) one of 31 cities globally for 2013. The grant provides Christchurch with access to some of IBM's top experts to analyse and provide recommendations to drive economic development and sustained growth for the city.
Launched in 2011, the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge is a three-year, 100-city, US$50-million competitive grant program and is IBM's single-largest philanthropic initiative. The Challenge teams address urban issues including economic development, transportation, education, energy, public safety, urban planning and health care. As part of the pro bono engagement, a team of six IBM experts will be assigned to Christchurch in 2013, working with Christchurch City Council and the Canterbury Development Corporation.
Canterbury Development Corporation chief executive, Mr Tom Hooper said, “Our vision for this project is to create a ‘smart framework’ that will improve the city’s innovation eco-system and help create opportunities for both collaboration and commercialisation of ideas. By understanding and implementing such a framework, it is anticipated that the city would generate higher levels of economic growth across all sectors following a sustained period of earthquake-related rebuild activity.”
The Canterbury Development Corporation’s application was officially endorsed by Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker, who was also participated in the grant application process.
“When talking about a re-imagined Christchurch, I have always envisaged collaborative projects such as the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge helping us create a dynamic and innovative society. To be chosen as one of the IBM Smarter Cities grant recipients is both an honour and dynamic opportunity that speaks to our innovators, engineers, entrepreneurs and scientists with the clear message that we are building a city of the future,” said Mayor Parker.
“We are thrilled that a New Zealand city has been selected in this competitive grant program . Christchurch put forward a clear and compelling case to receive a grant and it will be a privilege to collaborate with Christchurch and its leaders to help the city develop a sustained model for economic prosperity," said Liz Hampton, Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs Manager, IBM New Zealand.
Smarter Cities Challenge is a variant of IBM's Corporate Service Corps, a pro bono consulting program that assists government with projects that intersect business, technology, and society. Since its launch in 2008, Corporate Service Corps has sent more than 2,000 of IBM's top talent based in 50 countries on more than 200 team assignments in 30 countries. While Corporate Service Corps focuses on the developing world, IBM's Smarter Cities Challenge addresses urban concerns in both industrialized and developing countries.