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Honourable Harjit Sajjan launches Vancouver’s Smart Cities Challenge

November 28, 2017
UBC MEL Honourable Harjit Sajjan launches Vancouver's Smart Cities Challenge

On Friday, November 24th, the Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defense, launched Vancouver’s Smart Cities Challenge. The campaign incentivizes communities in Metro Vancouver and all of British Columbia to make their communities smarter. The Challenge encourages innovation through utilizing data and connected technology to strengthen communities and enable the growth of Canada’s middle class.

Improving planning through data and technology

Alongside Gregor Robertson, Mayor of Vancouver, and Harjit Sajjan, a current MEL student in Urban Systems, Kimberly Bueckert, shared best practices on the significance of data, technology and innovation in the community.

Through her work within the MEL in Urban Systems, Bueckert and her team partnered with the City of New Westminster to advance their Smart City Initiative, specifically focusing on Citizen Engagement & Big Data. The project aimed to address some of the challenges faced by the growing city and present a framework that encompassed innovative ways to use technology to help bring people together and improve the livelihood of their citizens.

They found that investing in the right data and technology can lead to more effective public services, enhance partnerships and collaborations, and empower residents to participate in the planning and decision-making of issues within their own community.

These findings complement the goals of the Smart City Challenge, supporting the idea that citizens from the community bring diverse knowledge to complex urban challenges. If enabled through the right engagement tools, their knowledge can be leveraged to assist experts and government officials with out-of-the-box thinking.
Smart Cities Challenge

Smart Cities Challenge Quick Facts

The Government of Canada is launching the first competition of the Smart Cities Challenge, helping communities to develop and implement their smart cities initiative.

Price structure: one prize of up to $50 million, open to all communities regardless of population; two prizes of up to $10 million, open to all communities with populations under 500,000 people; and one prize of up to $5 million, open to communities with a population under 30,000 people.

Application process: The application deadline is April 24, 2018. Finalists and winning communities will be selected by an independent jury. Finalists will be announced in Summer 2018 and winners will be announced in Spring 2019.

Communities interested in participating should visit the Impact Canada Challenge Platform for the applicant guide and more information.


Discover other impactful MEL in Urban Systems alumni, and how the program is shaping urban planners, architects, and engineers to design and lead innovation in the management of urban infrastructure and services.