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IBM's 'Smart City' Helps Municipal Planners See the Future

IBM's 'Smart City' Helps Municipal Planners See the Future - top government contractors - best government contracting event
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IBM's 'Smart City' Helps Municipal Planners See the Future - top government contractors - best government contracting event
Portland, Oregon

As part of its effort to build a “smarter city,” IBM announced today the release of its interactive computer simulation model that aims to help city officials understand the relationships that exist among the city’s core systems and predict the outcomes and effects of different policy decisions.

The System Dynamics for Smarter Cities model was built by IBM in collaboration with the city of Portland, Ore., and demonstrates how city systems, such as transportation, the economy, housing and education, work together and effect one another.

According to IBM, the new model is designed to help mayors and other municipal officials reduce the unintended negative consequences of municipal actions on citizens, as well as uncover hidden beneficial relationships among municipal policies.

“The City of Portland has served as a living laboratory during our year-long collaboration to explore how complex city systems behave over time,” said Michael Littlejohn, vice president of strategy for smarter cities at IBM. “While other analytical approaches rely on breaking a problem down into smaller and smaller pieces, the model we’ve created recognizes that the behavior of a system as a whole can be different from what might be anticipated by looking at its parts.”

“Using this model, the city of Portland can experiment with different scenarios to see how their decisions might affect various parts of the city over the next 25 years,” he added.

The project began in April 2010. IBM then approached more than 75 Portland-area subject matter experts to learn about the city’s interconnections.  The company collected approximately 10 years of historical data from across the city to support the model.

The year-long project resulted in a computer model of Portland as an interconnected system that provides planners at the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability with an interactive visual model that allows them to navigate and test changes in the city’s systems, stated IBM.

IBM hopes the new model will help other cities execute smart policy plans.

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