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Richmond wins IBM grant and $400,000 in consulting

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)—Richmond was recently selected as a recipient for the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant, announced Mayor Dwight Jones.

The city will get free consulting from IBM experts, valued at almost half a million dollars.

Richmond is one of 100 cities that will have received this grant, over a 3-year period.

The grant provides Richmond with access to six of IBM’s top experts, for three weeks, who will analyze and recommend ways that the metro-area can become an even better place to live, work and thrive.

“It is an honor to receive the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant as this resource of human capital will prove invaluable in moving Richmond forward as we continue our work of enhancing our economic and workforce development efforts,” said Mayor Jones, in a press release.

Jones pointed out that one of Richmond’s strengths is the “wealth of amenities that are not easily found in other cities.” He said he hopes that the IBM grant will be used to help strengthen neighborhoods.

Jones added that he hopes the neighborhood focus will “support the attraction and retention of neighborhood businesses.”

The six assigned consultants will study the lay of the land based on the key issue identified by the mayor.

After they arrive, the team will work with city officials to analyze data. IBM said that a big part of this effort is the solicitation of local input from local agencies and advocacy groups.

IBM then provides detailed recommendations for how the city might efficiently and effectively address the key issue.

This is the final year in the $50 million dollar, 100 city grant competition.

IBM offered examples of previous strategies they helped address:

  •  Economic and Workforce Development — reducing local dependence on a single industry
  • Social Services – creating an ecosystem that supports independent living for a growing senior citizen community
  •  Sustainability – setting policies around billing rates, electric vehicle use, and solar power generation on an upgraded power grid
  •  Capital Budget Planning – enabling citizens to request expenditures, while analyzing their potential impact
  • Urban Planning – taking a more systematic, data-driven approach to housing policy, downtown revitalization, zoning, and permits

To see the full list of 30 winners for 2013, click here:

The other United States grant winners were:

  • Buffalo, New York
  • Burlington, Vermont
  • Fresno, California
  • Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Reno, Nevada
  • Tucson, Arizona

Here is an example below of the IBM Smart Cities Challenge that took place in Louisville, Kentucy.