In December of 2015 the U.S Department of Transportation issued the Smart City Challenge to any mid size city in America. The challenge was for cities to “use data, applications, and technology to help people and goods move more quickly, cheaply, and efficiently”. 78 cities from across the country stepped up and presented their existing challenges and proposed solutions to becoming a Smart City. While Columbus Ohio won the grant, that did not stop Kansas City from moving forward and partnering with private sector companies to make their plans a reality. Kansas City has successfully turned a two mile stretch of the city into a glimpse of what the future of cities could be.
KC was already on their way of becoming known as an technology sector well before the announcement of the Smart City Challenge. The journey for KC began in 2011 when Google announced them as the first city to have Google Fiber. In 2014 the US Department of Labor funded training to help residents compete in the workforce of the future as well as Tech.com hailed the city as a “promising tech hub”.
As part of the initiative, KC created the KC Digital Roadmap, Mayor Sylvester “Sly” James, Jr says that this road map will “enhance our ability to work towards closing the digital divide in our City, as well as strengthen and promote our City’s digital industry.” The roadmap focuses on 5 key areas: Digital Inclusion, Open Government, Engagement, Industry, and Smart City.