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Da Nang among recipients of 2012 smarter cities grants

Update: March, 24/2012 - 09:09

HCM CITY — The central city of Da Nang has become one of 33 cities worldwide to receive IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grants during 2012.

The grant will provide the city with access to IBM's top experts to analyse and recommend ways to support successful socio-economic growth, better delivery of municipal services, more citizen engagement, and improved efficiency.

The value of the talent provided for an individual engagement in a given city is approximately US$400,000.

Launched in 2011, this three-year, 100-city $50 million programme, IBM's single-largest philanthropic initiative, funds in-person engagements staffed by teams of top IBM experts, who study and then make detailed recommendations addressing locally important urban issues.

For the second year of the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge, cities around the world once again competed vigorously to benefit from IBM's human talent and technology.

The winning cities proposed intriguing projects and areas of focus for IBM experts. They included initiatives for economic and workforce development, transportation, sustainability, health, education and urban planning.

IBM will provide special assistance to each winning city for the use of City Forward, a free online site IBM created with public policy experts.

Citizens, elected officials and urban planners can use the site to explore trends and statistics in a visual and accessible way, which can be adapted for the examination of any number of urban issues, leading to better decision-making.

"The cities that have been selected are all different, but they have one clear similarity: the strong personal commitment by the city's leadership to put in place the changes needed to help the city make smarter decisions," said Stanley S Litow, IBM vice president of corporate citizenship&corporate affairs, and president of IBM's Foundation.

"These cities demonstrated a desire to set an example for other municipalities, an eagerness to collaborate with multiple stakeholders, and a strong commitment to consider implementing recommendations the city felt would be the most feasible and beneficial to their residents."

Some two-dozen cities that earned IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grants in 2011 are already making progress in putting their aspirations into practice, having made public policy changes or launched important new initiatives that address longstanding issues.

IBM's Smarter Cities Challenge is an outgrowth of IBM's Corporate Service Corps grants programme, in which IBM deploys teams of top employees to areas in the developing world to work on projects that intersect business, technology, and society.

Since the launch of Corporate Service Corps in 2008, nearly 1,400 IBM employees based in 50 countries have been dispatched on more than 140 team assignments in 24 countries. — VNS

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