October 26, 2015
Smart cities, urban tech form part of White House innovation strategy
The White House celebrated “Back to the Future” Day on Wednesday by releasing an updated strategy for fostering innovative new economic development in the years and decades to come. Although research into hoverboard technology goes unmentioned, urban-centered innovation has a significant part in the document’s vision.
In the latest version of its “Strategy for American Innovation,” the Obama Administration made fostering smart cities one of nine spotlight areas in the 119-page document. The strategy also highlighted several other areas that will impact future urban life, including autonomous vehicle development and green energy technologies.
The document calls on the federal government to support research into “Internet of Things” technologies and “multi-sector collaborations to deploy new approaches and knowledge sharing across communities.” These efforts will involve “civic hackers,” the White House notes — which the administration itself has incorporated into federal agency computing innovation through offices like 18F.
The administration also calls for a doubling of federal research funds for autonomous vehicle development in order to establish safety standards for their arrival on roadways.
The document also notes so-called “gigabit cities” like Chattanooga, Tennessee; Lafayette, Louisiana; and Kansas City, Missouri; that have made high-speed broadband a centerpiece of future economic development.
Fundamentally, the document calls for an end to sequestration-level spending in the next federal budget and a return to robust research and development investments across a variety of technological areas. The White House’s FY2016 budget requests $146 billion in R&D spending.
“A thriving American innovation ecosystem requires not only visionary and risk-taking entrepreneurs and companies, but also the foundational ‘building blocks’ of innovation in which the Federal government invests,” the document reads.
Wednesday’s update is the second since the Obama Administration issued the strategy in 2009. The last update was completed in 2011.