Home » Smart City Initiative » Smart City Challenge
2021 Smart City Challenge Logo

Update on 2021 Smart City Challenge

Release Date: 2021-07-16

Compiled by Katherine Sanchez, Digital Innovation Fellow

The launch of the Smart City Initiative in 2019 established guiding principles and pathways to using technology and data to improve the lives of all Long Beach residents. The City of Long Beach based the Smart City Initiative on the principles of equity, inclusion, resilience, innovation, and community collaboration. This Initiative aims to advance solutions to civic challenges by engaging the community, City staff, and the private sector to explore and implement emerging technology.

As part of the Smart City Initiative, the City launched the Smart City Challenge pilot program in 2021. Powered by the Startup in Residence Program (STIR), the Smart City Challenge pairs City Departments with technology companies to address some of Long Beach’s key civic issues and needs. This program allows for City Departments to identify technology needs and collaborate with technology companies for a period of 6 months to build and implement pilot solutions. Participating City Departments will be able to enter a contract if they are interested in scaling up to a full implementation.

This year, the City of Long Beach received over 150 applications from vendors to participate in our Smart City Challenge. There are 12 diverse and exciting challenges underway that tackle issues like local air pollution, homelessness, and mobility. These include the following:

  • Air Quality Monitoring and Climate Action & Adaptation Plan (CAAP)
  • Moving Police Officers from Paper Based to Digital
  • Streamlining the Cannabis Social Equity Program
  • Publicizing Public Works Permit Data
  • Map Based Resource Hub for People Experiencing Homelessness
  • Homeless Services Active Contract Management
  • Energy Resources User Tools
  • Mobility Data Collection
  • Identity Management & Digital Services Streamlining
  • Economic Development Developer Engagement
  • Parks Event and Facilities Management
  • Smart Water Meters

Although some City Departments have chosen not to move forward with their pilot projects due to competing priorities, we are collecting lessons learned to develop more comprehensive solutions to civic challenges moving forward. The Departments that have chosen to engage in 6-month pilots are now waiting for the Long Beach City Council to approve their contracts with selected technology companies. Once approved, for each pilot, City staff will collaborate with their selected technology vendors to scope the pilot solutions that will focus on improving the quality of life for all Long Beach residents. Pilots will also include discrete key performance indicators, so the City can measure success and use data to inform decisions on whether to scale pilots up to a full implementation.

City pilot projects are conducted annually by the City Long Beach, but this is the first year that the City is promoting its pilot program as the Smart City Challenge. This Challenge prioritizes the equitable use of technology to promote the City’s economic development, environmental justice, social equity and improve data collection and digital access. It also allows the City and its staff flexible, creative, and innovative ways to test possible civic solutions in a much quicker and effective matter. These pilots’ solutions require a thoughtful application, community design and feedback, as well as monitoring and evaluation.

We encourage you to learn more about our Long Beach Smart City Challenges and their ongoing progress!