The Town of Caledon has applied to the federal Smart Cities Challenge to connect residents, each other and the world to digital technology through “Smart Spaces.”
The Challenge encourages communities to imagine how they might improve the lives of residents through innovation, data and connected technology. Winning communities will receive up to $10 million in funding to implement their plans.
As part of the application, communities are asked to provide a “challenge statement” that describes how they intend to become a Smart City. Caledon’s challenge statement is: “With our large geographic area, dispersed population centres and lack of widespread broadband internet access across Caledon, all residents and businesses will still be connected within the Town, allowing entrepreneurship to grow, individuals to connect, access to digital resources to expand, and innovation to thrive.”
Caledon’s proposal involves increasing the number of traditional and non-traditional spaces where the community can connect, collecting data on how the community is using these spaces, and using the data to ensure the spaces are meeting needs.
The proposal includes the creation of three types of Smart Spaces:
- A hub which hosts co-working space for entrepreneurs, while still providing community space for residents.
- Spokes located in a number of our villages and hamlets in community spaces that allow people access to resources at the “hub” in their local community, tailored for their local needs.
- Outdoor spaces in our parks and trails that use smart lightning, signage and benches to provide connectivity while enjoying Caledon’s natural beauty.
Caledon’s submission is the culmination of a consultation process with the community, including an online survey and a focus group as well as letters of support. For more information, visit caledon.ca/smartcaledon.
It is expected that a shortlist of finalists will be announced in the summer of 2018. Finalists will receive a $250,000 grant to develop a more detailed proposal, which is due in the winter of 2019, with the winners being announced in the spring of 2019.