The Greater Washington Board of Trade has signed on March 19 an agreement with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) and the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area in order to establish the “Greater Washington Smart Region Movement” for smart regional growth in the United States.
The agreement to establish the Smart Region Movement was signed by Chuck Bean, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Washington COG; Jack McDougle, President and CEO of the Greater Washington Board of Trade; and Dr. John C. Cavanaugh, President and CEO of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area.
“Our mission is to be the nation’s leading digitally enabled region. We’re pioneering a model that gives everyone a voice but isn’t all talk—we’re focused on outcomes and headed for real, investment-ready projects that are driven by the community’s needs,” Jack McDougle, said in an official press release.
Hundreds of organizations are represented by the three founding groups, including governments, companies, investors, nonprofits, and academic institutions. “These organizations will contribute in various capacities toward building a trusted, secure, and inclusive digital infrastructure (otherwise known as “smart city” technology) for the public good,” the press release added. “This will enable the deployment of smart technologies to drive inclusive economic growth; attract companies, talent, and investment to help diversify the economy; and improve the daily lives of all our citizens.”
Robert White Jr., COG Board of Directors chair and D.C. Councilmember, said that this Smart Region Movement is an exciting opportunity to build the capacity of the region for innovation, and make new investments in infrastructure to deliver better services to all of the constituents.
“While we’ve already implemented several smaller-scale smart initiatives, this effort will help us think bigger about our shared needs, reduce taxpayer costs by making joint purchases and working with local businesses, and plan for these technologies to work seamlessly across our jurisdictional borders,” said White Jr.
The founding organizations will be working towards a comprehensive planning process in the next few months. They will also prioritize projects, get funds, select suppliers and ensure outcomes for citizens by working with local jurisdictions. The digital divide will be lessened and all communities will be included so that they benefit from these planned investments.
The technology sector in the Greater Washington region has witnessed growth in recent years, as the region has been recognized as an emerging technology hub. The Greater Washington Smart Region Movement will also support that trend and offer solutions to long-term development challenges.