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Fundamental to the concept of a General Plan is the notion that a city can be “planned”. “Plan” in this context refers to the process of gathering ideas and input from many sources and creating an overall, general system of development that will bring about orderly growth (that is, a development that avoids placing incompatible land uses next to each other, that will not place undue financial burdens on the City or a particular neighborhood, and that still assures that adequate public services and amenities are in place to create a livable community).

Washington City has the land and water resources to grow from its current estimated population of approximately 15,000 to a community of 80,000 or more. If this growth occurs at a rate close to that experienced over the past decade, there will soon be significant, continuous pressures to expand the systems necessary to support growth: new roads, water, sewer, schools, churches, parks, trails, etc. Where should these facilities and services be located? Can we put them in once and not have to move them? Planning ahead will help avoid duplication and land-use conflicts that have challenged other high-growth communities.

A General Plan is sometimes referred to as a “Master Plan” or “Comprehensive Plan.” It is a community’s general guide for making land-use decisions. The General Plan is a reflection of the community’s values.

At the large-scale level, the General Plan describes how the community wants to grow, i.e. where the community wishes various land uses to take place and what the community wants to look like. The General Plan covers the area within the City limits as well as land anticipated to be annexed to the City in the future (planning area).

At a more detailed scale, the General Plan provides direction for the many detailed decisions made every week concerning specific street improvements, sidewalks, electric substations, and building locations, etc. The cumulative effect of such decisions has a significant impact on the shape of the community and the residents’ quality of life.

In between large scale and small scale decisions, the General Plan is the document that coordinates other City plans, such as the Transportation Master Plan, the Parks and Recreation Master Plan and Water and Sewer Plans, and others. It is also a basic tool to guide zoning, budgeting, capital improvement decisions, and policy-making.

The basic purposes of the General Plan might be summarized as:

  • Bring consistency and reconcile conflicts in plans, policies, priorities and directions that guide both public and private sector decisions regarding land use.
  • Identify alternatives and priorities for key decisions confronting the City. These include locations of key public facilities, and actions regarding annexations, affordable housing, etc.

Economic Development

Vision Statement

We will foster a vibrant, prosperous, and growing economy through extraordinary community development.

Mission Statement

We will implement creative community-based strategies to enhance economic opportunities by building strong neighborhoods, expanding existing businesses and ensuring a dynamic framework for growth and development.

Organizational Values

The Economic Advisory Committee of Washington City has embraced the following institutional values to direct our governance and activities:

  • EXCELLENCE: Meeting the highest Expectations
  • STEWARDSHIP: Respecting and protecting community resources
  • INTEGRITY: Demonstrating honesty and trustworthiness in action and intent
  • VISION: Imagining the possibilities
  • INCLUSIVENESS: Respecting and valuing broad participation in community dialogue and decision-making
  • COURAGE: Acting with strength of conviction even in the face of adversity

Committee Values

In order to better serve our residents and businesses, the Economic Advisory Committee holds itself to the highest standards of excellence, actively embracing the following core values:

  • ACCOUNTABILITY: Being responsible to ourselves, each other, and to the organization
  • CREATIVITY: Thinking about different ways of doing things
  • HONESTY: Communicating the facts without judgment or bias
  • RESPECT: Acknowledging each other’s value and contribution
  • TEAMWORK: Working together cooperatively towards a common goal
  • TRUST: Believing in each other’s success and ability

The key Washington DC government initiatives

  • Smarter DC is a collection of DC government smart city initiatives.
  • Resilient DC was established to build DC’s resilience to shocks and stresses through the development and implementation of a comprehensive resilience strategy.
  • Vision Zero aims to improve pedestrian and bicycle transportation safety. The goal is to reach zero fatalities and serious injuries to travelers in DC through more effective use of data, education, enforcement, and engineering by the year 2024.
  • The Lab @ DC uses scientific insights and methods to test and improve policies and provide timely, relevant, and high-quality analysis to inform the District’s most important decisions.

Smart City Innovation Hub in Washington DC

Open Gov Hub is a co-working community and a network of organizations promoting transparency, accountability, and civic engagement around the world. Alley powered by Verizon is a co-working space focused on technology companies. They are hosting a series of workshops and events to empower a new narrative on the possibilities of 5G.

1776 is a hub for startups tackling challenges in education, energy, health care, government, and other critical industries. 1776 startups gain access to a global network of connections with established institutions and corporations, influencers, expert mentors, and investors. 1776 also has a seed fund where they make seed-stage investments in startups that combine a massive opportunity for financial success and the potential to transform the industries most important to lives as citizens.

Prominent Smart Cities companies in Washington DC

Open Data Nation helps to aggregate data about commercial businesses and individual behaviors from across cities, enabling its clients to anticipate key issues from data using various machine learning models.

Aquicore provides a suite of energy-related software and hardware designed to minimize real- estate operational costs and improve recoverable expense capture. By monitoring the real-time energy consumption of a building using proprietary hardware and software, the company is able to empower users to make better investment and operational decisions regarding the building.

Measure develops drone programs designed to provide turnkey solutions to acquire, process, and deliver cost-effective, actionable aerial data to enterprise customers.

Clean Choice Energy provides renewable electricity intended to make clean energy accessible for everybody. The company supplies clean renewable energy from mostly wind and some solar farms without installing solar panels at home, apartment or business space to reduce your impact on the environment, providing clean energy for everybody.

Arcadia Power offers a digital utility platform designed to remove the complexity and unnecessary fees related to home energy usage. The company’s platform connects with a users’ local utility account to access automatic savings, ensure the electricity usage supports renewable energy sources and a dashboard to track bills and usage, providing renters and homeowners access to clean energy and savings.

Smart Cities and Civic solutions for Washington DC

Emerging approaches to urban infrastructure, transportation, energy, and sustainability, including government-focused and “smart cities” technologies.

The need to keep up with the demands placed on urban infrastructure and transportation by rapid urbanization and technological advances creates opportunity areas focused on issues ranging from the modernization of infrastructure (e.g., updating energy, water, and transportation infrastructure), using information technology and open data to enhance city operations and services, and advancing environmental sustainability. Known as the smart cities industry, it is expected to grow to an estimated $88.7 billion globally by 2025.1 Smart city transformations are taking place in cities of all sizes, enabled by the developments in city-related connected devices (i.e., the Internet of Things or IoT), solar and battery technology, and mobile and data-enabled transportation technologies. Columbus, Ohio won the U.S. Department of Transportation’s $40 million Smart City Challenge in June 2016 to fully integrate innovative technologies (self-driving cars, connected vehicles, and smart sensors) into their transportation network.2 Columbus is matching the USDOT and Vulcan grants with $90 million in pledges from public and private sector partners.3 Beyond their high economic growth potential, smart cities and civic solutions create a positive externality benefiting the cities in which they are incubated.

DC has been a hotbed of activity for innovation aimed at solving urban problems (particularly in the transportation space), enabling greater civic participation in government, and delivering citizen services.4 Existing initiatives and policies to support smart cities and civic solutions include the Pennsylvania 2040 Project, a public-private partnership to implement Internet of Things technologies on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, and the 2016 Renewable Portfolio Standard Expansion Amendment Act to increase DC’s renewable portfolio standard to 50% by 2032.5 Companies such as Uber, Lyft, RideScout, and Bridj have started a movement not just within the transportation space, but in using mobile technology and data to transform the way that people interact with cities.

Example Industries and Businesses

  • ‘Smart city’ sensors, integration, and data analysis
  • Sustainability infrastructure, including green building design and construction
  • Municipal service delivery innovation
  • Civic/government tech
  • Transportation and mobility, including autonomous vehicles, non-motorized transit and congestion solutions
  • Sustainability, energy and infrastructure upgrades and retrofitting
  • Engineering and computer science
  • Data science, management, and analytics
  • Urban planning
  • Urban agriculture and food systems
  • Business administration and development (e.g. sales)
  • Operations and customer support

Washington DC’s Urban Environment

DC offers several advantages as a location to grow the smart cities and civic solutions sector. Its status as the national capital gives it a branding advantage to attract firms that want to demonstrate that their city solutions work in a major American city. As a city that can make policy without the friction of having to contend with the state government, DC has jurisdictional simplicity that makes it easier to test out new ideas. DC also has strong public transit and air travel infrastructure compared to many other American cities.

High Concentration of Thought Leadership and Policy Expertise

A significant amount of expertise on the subject of urban sustainable development is located in the District. These include public sector organizations, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the World Bank, think tanks, and professional associations developed around the smart city and other civic issues. This advantage is amplified given the high concentration of expertise in data management and confidentiality. This concentration of expertise, which is unique to DC, creates a significant opportunity in being first adopters and innovators in new technologies that involve significant regulatory questions such as autonomous vehicles. Ultimately, creating a “smart city” requires not just the adoption of new technology, but also the soft infrastructure, including the regulatory and legal expertise, underpinning the smart transformation.

Existing Urban Solutions in Sustainability and Resilience

DC’s existing commitment to finding solutions to the urban challenges of environmental sustainability and climate change could also be drivers of innovation in areas that cities around the world are facing. For example, the District’s recently adopted Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards will boost the District’s uptake of renewable energy, and the District also has some of the nation’s most progressive stormwater management standards for new buildings. DC is pursuing several long-range goals for maximizing sustainability and minimizing the negative impacts of climate change, through its 2013 Sustainable DC Plan and 2016 Climate Action. In addition, the District began the process of creating a resilience roadmap in February 2017 as a new member of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities program, and it will soon hire a chief resilience officer to lead the effort. All these commitments not only foster environmental resilience but also provide an opportunity to develop integrated solutions that DC firms could then export to meet similar challenges in other cities.

Creating a Smart City and Civic Solutions Policy Ecosystem

Given the concentration of policy expertise located within the region, DC has an opportunity to become a leader in smart city policy. DC can develop and implement new policies and regulations (e.g. build on the new open data policy with data protection laws) that can provide a first-mover advantage capable of spurring smart city entrepreneurship. These can help serve as an example to other cities that are becoming increasingly connected. Furthermore, DC has an opportunity to explore new city-led partnership models that brings together governments, universities, established businesses, entrepreneurs, foundations, and social sector entities to address increasingly multi-dimensional urban challenges.

Given the concentration of policy expertise located within the region, DC has an opportunity to become a leader in smart city policy. DC can develop and implement new policies and regulations (e.g. build on the new open data policy with data protection laws) that can provide a first-mover advantage capable of spurring smart city entrepreneurship. These can help serve as an example to other cities that are becoming increasingly connected. Furthermore, DC has an opportunity to explore new city-led partnership models that brings together governments, universities, established businesses, entrepreneurs, foundations, and social sector entities to address increasingly multi-dimensional urban challenges.

New Procurement Mechanisms

Government procurement and adoption of smart cities and other urban solutions have also been a driver of innovation in these industries, by providing an initial source of revenue and customer feedback, as well as allowing firms to prove that their technologies and innovations work. For example, Barcelona has started to use challenge- or problem-based procurement. Instead of using traditional contracting, the city has identified challenges faced by the city and has opened solving them to entrepreneurs.7 Other cities have also taken this approach, including Singapore, whose water industry was spurred by government procurement of leading-edge water reclamation technology. DC can take a similar approach, using new procurement mechanisms to help encourage holistic solutions to its urban challenges. By transitioning to challenge-based procurement and using new mechanisms (including prizes, competitive grants, and broad agency announcements), DC can mobilize a diverse set of businesses and entrepreneurs to tackle urban problems in new ways, creating benefits in the city and promoting economic growth.

Impending Infrastructure and Utility Upgrades

Key pieces of infrastructure in the District are aging and expected to undergo major upgrades or investments in the near future. Examples include grid upgrades, DC water infrastructure improvements, Anacostia Riverfront remediation, and bridge replacements. These projects offer opportunities to catalyze smart city solutions and will increase the demand for construction and trades labor. Paired with anticipated retirements of workers at DC Water and the forthcoming real estate academy at the MLK Incubator announced in December 2016, these projects could help strengthen pathways into smart cities’ careers and support economic mobility for workers with less educational attainment.

To achieve the strategic vision and goals, we must be focused and intentional. The action framework, informed by the analysis and stakeholder input, identifies five areas where we will focus our efforts. Initiatives fall within this framework and will be implemented over the next several years.


WASHINGTON DC, USA

2.688 Smart Points

about smaty cities smart city washington

  • 62%

    WASHINGTON SMART CITY

ENVIRONMENT QUALITY
65%
MOBILITY QUALITY
75%
CONNECTIVITY QUALITY
95%
LIFE QUALITY
64%
ECOLOGY SUPPORT
43%
CITIZENS SUPPORT
35%
GOVERNMENT SUPPORT
58%

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Murphy Morningstar
About Murphy Morningstar

I am Murphy. I take care of the overall Smart Cities logic, cities' architecture, and mission control. I am interested in the evolution of cities from the view of the highest standpoint of city management.

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