Media Release: Smart Cities Challenge Application Moves to Next Step (May 8, 2018)

For Immediate Release: May 8, 2018

Stratford, PE – The Town of Stratford recently submitted an application to the federal government’s Smart Cities Challenge and last week was advised that the application has been accepted.

The Smart Cities Challenge focuses on achieving meaningful outcomes for residents though the use of data and connected technology. The challenge looks to create innovative projects which use technology to overcome municipal challenges and issues. It also tasks municipalities with creating their project as something that is replicable by other municipalities.

It was important for the Town of Stratford to bring together residents, businesses and stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds to look at the community’s local needs from different angles and to create outside-the-box ideas with big impact. The dialogue centred around the Town’s vision where:

residents social, physical and spiritual needs are met, where our culture is diverse and thriving, where our heritage is protected and celebrated, where our natural environment is protected and respected, where there is a thriving local economy and where there is an open, accountable and collaborative governance system

Through a facilitated evening workshop and online survey many great ideas and themes were captured. In the end, the issue that the Town of Stratford’s application focuses on is the retention of immigrants. Many immigrants land in PEI but then move to the larger urban centers but immigrants are also needed in smaller, more rural areas, like Stratford, to sustain and drive the local economy. Stratford will do this by building on existing efforts to ensure that all people are welcome and included and has created the following challenge statement as part of the application:

Stratford will double its retention rate for new immigrants by creating a community where all people are welcome and included.

The application to the Smart Cities Challenge builds on the work which the Town already prides itself on. The Town’s application would see the establishment of the Stratford Community Exchange, a physical and virtual space where people are welcome and included. It would be a space to identify and welcome residents; encourage residents to participate in community volunteer activities, programs, cultural exchange and engagement opportunities; provide concierge style services for transactions and interactions with the Town; and curate and celebrate cultural diversity through festivals and events, and by offering a space where people can share music, stories, dance, recipes, crafts and other cultural traditions; plus so much more.

The physical space will include a welcome centre to welcome and engage residents, an international café to facilitate a cultural exchange, and a cultural event space to host cultural and diversity festivals and events. It will be “smart” with high bandwidth Wi-Fi, tablets, and interactive screens made available throughout the space to enhance cultural exchange and engagement. The virtual Community Exchange will be designed to replicate the functionality of the physical exchange. It will include innovative software tools to facilitate Smart decision making from data analytics, customer contact management, interoperability with existing systems, engagement and sharing transactions. A virtual concierge style service will be built to simplify customer interaction with the town. The software will be developed in open source and made available to other communities, together with what we learn from our experience with the Community Exchange. Rather than leave it to chance, where each community evolves their own community exchange, we will invite other communities to join the “Community Exchange Project” and create a coalition of communities that continually collaborate on improvements to the community exchange approach and software.

The full application from the Town of Stratford can be viewed at www.townofstratford.ca. Applicants will be shortlisted over the coming months through a jury process with an anticipated announcement of the finalists by the fall of 2018.  Those selected as a finalist will receive $250,000 to be applied towards the development of their final proposal. The finalists in each of the three categories will be announced in the spring of 2019. This is a remarkable opportunity for the Town of Stratford to potentially win a $5 million federal grant to address our local needs and one that can continue to move Stratford further towards being the best community possible.

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For more information please contact:

Wendy Watts, Community Engagement Coordinator
Town of Stratford
T: (902) 569-1995
E: wwatts@townofstratford.ca

Media Release: Smart Cities Challenge Application Moves to Next Step (May 8, 2018)

For Immediate Release: May 8, 2018

Stratford, PE – The Town of Stratford recently submitted an application to the federal government’s Smart Cities Challenge and last week was advised that the application has been accepted.

The Smart Cities Challenge focuses on achieving meaningful outcomes for residents though the use of data and connected technology. The challenge looks to create innovative projects which use technology to overcome municipal challenges and issues. It also tasks municipalities with creating their project as something that is replicable by other municipalities.

It was important for the Town of Stratford to bring together residents, businesses and stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds to look at the community’s local needs from different angles and to create outside-the-box ideas with big impact. The dialogue centred around the Town’s vision where:

residents social, physical and spiritual needs are met, where our culture is diverse and thriving, where our heritage is protected and celebrated, where our natural environment is protected and respected, where there is a thriving local economy and where there is an open, accountable and collaborative governance system

Through a facilitated evening workshop and online survey many great ideas and themes were captured. In the end, the issue that the Town of Stratford’s application focuses on is the retention of immigrants. Many immigrants land in PEI but then move to the larger urban centers but immigrants are also needed in smaller, more rural areas, like Stratford, to sustain and drive the local economy. Stratford will do this by building on existing efforts to ensure that all people are welcome and included and has created the following challenge statement as part of the application:

Stratford will double its retention rate for new immigrants by creating a community where all people are welcome and included.

The application to the Smart Cities Challenge builds on the work which the Town already prides itself on. The Town’s application would see the establishment of the Stratford Community Exchange, a physical and virtual space where people are welcome and included. It would be a space to identify and welcome residents; encourage residents to participate in community volunteer activities, programs, cultural exchange and engagement opportunities; provide concierge style services for transactions and interactions with the Town; and curate and celebrate cultural diversity through festivals and events, and by offering a space where people can share music, stories, dance, recipes, crafts and other cultural traditions; plus so much more.

The physical space will include a welcome centre to welcome and engage residents, an international café to facilitate a cultural exchange, and a cultural event space to host cultural and diversity festivals and events. It will be “smart” with high bandwidth Wi-Fi, tablets, and interactive screens made available throughout the space to enhance cultural exchange and engagement. The virtual Community Exchange will be designed to replicate the functionality of the physical exchange. It will include innovative software tools to facilitate Smart decision making from data analytics, customer contact management, interoperability with existing systems, engagement and sharing transactions. A virtual concierge style service will be built to simplify customer interaction with the town. The software will be developed in open source and made available to other communities, together with what we learn from our experience with the Community Exchange. Rather than leave it to chance, where each community evolves their own community exchange, we will invite other communities to join the “Community Exchange Project” and create a coalition of communities that continually collaborate on improvements to the community exchange approach and software.

The full application from the Town of Stratford can be viewed at www.townofstratford.ca. Applicants will be shortlisted over the coming months through a jury process with an anticipated announcement of the finalists by the fall of 2018.  Those selected as a finalist will receive $250,000 to be applied towards the development of their final proposal. The finalists in each of the three categories will be announced in the spring of 2019. This is a remarkable opportunity for the Town of Stratford to potentially win a $5 million federal grant to address our local needs and one that can continue to move Stratford further towards being the best community possible.

-30-

 

For more information please contact:

Wendy Watts, Community Engagement Coordinator
Town of Stratford
T: (902) 569-1995
E: wwatts@townofstratford.ca

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