Smart Regions Spotlight: Kansas City Goes Digital

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Kansas City is a model example for mid-size cities and urban regions across the U.S. that are looking to implement smart city technology for the purpose of broad goals including greater connectivity, free mobility, and increased accessibility for residents.

The centerpiece of KC’s smart city efforts—the two-mile downtown corridor—serves as a model for how public-private partnerships can be implemented in a way that truly serves the citizenry while still meeting practical requirements. If you need proof of KC's success, simply take a look at the downtown area's demographics. The downtown population has grown fivefold in a decade from less than 5,000 people to nearly 25,000. Development investment has also grown by 400 percent.

Any city can be a smart city, or a smarter city, just by getting better control of their data and by understanding what it’s saying to them.
— Bob Bennett, Chief Innovation Officer for Kansas City

The wide range of technological development in Kansas City all ties into the larger goal of creating a 24-hour downtown. The route of the recently-expanded streetcar system is explicitly designed to unify the four sections of downtown Kansas City.

Although things like basic internet access and physical mobility may sound trivial or less than “smart” in the context of a first-world city, these resources are invaluable to citizens in economically disadvantaged areas who need them to search for and get to jobs. For an unemployed individual without a college education who has no car and limited internet access, Kansas City’s solutions can be life changing. It’s difficult to overstate the cascading effects on communities when they are provided access to employment previously out of their reach. Even more revolutionary is the inherent value in providing greater access to information through inclusive internet access across Kansas City.

The KC regional smart cities initiative serves the dual purpose of attracting young professionals and economic development while helping to uplift disadvantaged populations. At its core, Kansas City's success is representative of the power that comes from leveraging best practices and available resources and implementing smart solutions.


Join leaders from KC at these two upcoming events:

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2018 Gigabit City Summit - June 25-28, 2018

The Gigabit City Summit offers a unique, multidisciplinary program for cities in the midst of digital transformation. Bridging the gap between broadband and smart cities, the Gigabit City Summit brings together a community focused on how infrastructure investment translates into real civic impact. Powered by KC Digital Drive - Kansas City, MO


2018 Smart Regions Conference - October 25, 2018

The Second Annual Smart Regions Conference is among the largest ‘smart cities’ leadership events in North America. Join leaders from all levels of government and across sectors for morning speakers and panels, an innovation showcase, and the 2018 Smart Infrastructure Challenge awards. Powered by Venture Smarter - Columbus, OH