Smart Cities Challenge – Off and away!

10 months ago
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February 5, 2018

Following several weeks of hard work, we are pleased to launch public and participatory activities around Montréal’s application for the government of Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge.

Today we have made a consultation and call for projects available for the next three weeks. This blog post aims to provide some context for anyone who would like to know more about the process.

To begin, we invite you to check out the government of Canada’s applicant's guide, our reference for the next several months, to learn more about the Challenge’s criteria and how it works. We have developed a process that meets these criteria so that on April 24, we can submit a file that represents Montréal’s DNA.

Once the Challenge was launched, we wanted to apply with some degree of continuity. Montréal’s DNA is made up of a strong collaborative and consultative culture. We wanted to build upon this strength instead of reinventing the wheel. We chose to carefully consult a number of past city reports and survey results, including those that guided the orientations of our “smart city” process and local dialogue exercises that were carried out by area social development round tables.

The consultation, which was launched on February 5, will help us refine our understanding of issues that the greater Montréal area faces in developing its application file.

The objective of the call for projects that we are launching in parallel is to bring forward projects that combine the city’s action with those of key players. It is important to understand that, more than our objective of $50 million, we see the Challenge as a fantastic opportunity to mobilize Montréal’s active ecosystems and help them work together. The aim is not to fund the city’s projects, but to be a catalyst for projects that will drive tomorrow’s Montréal.

April 24 is coming up quickly. We know three weeks is short for a call for projects. That’s the challenge we’re trying to meet together. We have developed a process to create an application that is consistent with Challenge criteria. Infrastructure Canada mentions that an application must meet a clear, measurable and achievable objective that is presented in the form of a statement.

The April 24 deadline is the first step of the Smart Cities Challenge to select the finalists, who will then be invited to develop their application and the projects it comprises. This is why project descriptions must be succinct for the first step without losing sight of the fact that projects must be achievable. This is one of the stressful parts of this type of exercise – seeing the big picture while remaining realistic!

In our process, the co-creation stage, which follows the consultation stage, is also a period for streamlining and refining projects that make up Montréal’s application. This stage will begin with a collective working day on March 15 and will continue with a monthlong period of guidance to streamline the city’s projects and those of the ecosystem. You will soon receive an invitation to this special day that you can go ahead and add to your calendar now.

What we’ll ask you over the next three weeks is to present your projects to us in a concise way by highlighting what’s innovated about them and how they fit with the Challenge’s themes. As much as possible, to meet the feasibility objectives, we are looking for projects with a certain degree of maturity for which elements that are essential to their achievement, partners and budget envelope have already been identified but not secured. Obviously, there are some ideas and initiatives that may be less mature but are just as relevant. We want to hear more about them, too!

Just as we want to strengthen the ecosystem through this call for projects, our wish is for the projects themselves to strengthen the power of residents and communities in Montréal to take action.

We hope to make this process a model in order to define not only what could become tomorrow’s Montréal, but also to create tomorrow’s Montréal together.

Stéphane Guidoin
Acting Director
Smart and Digital City Office