Technology Division Smart Cities Awards

2017 Smart Cities Award Winners

Congratulations to the 2017 Technology Division Smart Cities Awards winners! These projects exemplify plans or projects that have realized innovative achievements by utilizing and/or deploying technological tools, applications, and methods as part of the planning process.

Resilient Networks NYC

New York City

Submitted by Resilient Communities, New America

Resilient Networks NYC is a multi-stakeholder partnership operating in six Superstorm Sandy-impacted neighborhoods to build and maintain local wireless networks. In each neighborhood, New America is supporting a local community organization as it trains local residents as "Digital Stewards" to conduct outreach, work with local businesses and leaders, and design and install local public WiFi. When telecommunications systems are functioning normally, the networks will serve as public access to the internet. Because commercial networks often fail in emergencies, however, the networks also feature redundant connections, local hosting, and backup power sources. This design will allow the networks to function as response and resilience organizing platforms in emergencies, enabling community-based organizations to communicate with each other, with local residents, and with first responders, even when other systems fail.

Corridor Housing Preservation Tool

Various Cities

Submitted by Elizabeth Mueller, PhD, University of Texas at Austin

As fast growing cities attempt to channel growth to transit corridors, redevelopment has the potential to displace transit-dependent low-income renters. The Corridor Housing Preservation Tool was developed to enable local and regional governments to assess conditions along transit corridors and within neighborhoods and act strategically to preserve existing rental housing and to foster coordination among housing, transportation and other infrastructure investments. The metric allows for the comparison of corridors and neighborhoods in terms of the benefits that living in that location provides to low income renter households (in terms of access to jobs via transit), the scale of potential displacement (affordable units vulnerable to loss), and current development pressure. The Corridor Housing Preservation Tool is available for use through the open source scenario planning software, Envision Tomorrow (ET). The new tool uses publicly available datasets and integrates outputs from ArcGIS and Envision Tomorrow. It has been used to inform planning processes in Austin and San Antonio, Texas. Analysis has also been conducted for Denver and Portland, Oregon. The tool, related datasets, and training materials are now available to planners and university faculty and students at no cost.

WebCode by re:code LA 

Los Angeles

Submitted by re:code LA team (City of Los Angeles Planning Department)

re:code LA is a five-year project to comprehensively revise the City of Los Angeles's Zoning Code. WebCode, a key component of re:code LA, is an online and mobile-responsive interface for the City of Los Angeles's new Zoning Code that will: (1) provide the public a customized experience of the Zoning Code, (2) make the Zoning Code easy to use and access for the general public, (3) provide all the relevant zoning information for a property in one centralized place, and (4) offer enhanced tools for internal coordination and code administration within the City of Los Angeles. Portions of the system have been released to the open source community as a contribution to recent innovations in the delivery of information within the planning profession.

Selection Criteria

A jury panel of planning practitioners reviewed all nominations to determine three award winning projects. The nominations were evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Originality: The project demonstrates an original and innovative application of a technology, and/or data collection or analysis method that advances the planning profession.
  • Implementation: The project demonstrates the utilization of a technological tool or an innovative method's ability to be successfully deployed in a planning process and policy.
  • Functionality and Use: The project demonstrates the use of the technological tool or method by planners to address a clearly defined need or project objective, ease of use of the technological tool or method's user experience, its value in participatory planning processes, and its value as a tool for planning analysis.
  • Significance to Planning: The project clearly demonstrates innovation and visionary concept in the practice of planning that aids planners and advances the profession.
  • Quality of Presentation: The nominations will be evaluated for overall quality of the submitted materials.


James A. Castañeda, AICP
2017 Technology Division Smart Cities Awards

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