City of the Year: Washington, DC | Smart Cities Dive
Washington, DC

MAYOR: Muriel Bowser

POPULATION: 680,000+ SIZE: 68 mi²

Guiding principles: Resilience, sustainablity, equitability, transparency and collaboration.

Biggest recognition of the year: Earned the U.S. Green Building Council's first LEED for Cities Platinum certification.

Outlook: In 2018, the city will prioritize optimizing mobility, achieving Vision Zero and improving public safety, among other initiatives.

Washington, DC is of course known for the White House, the Capitol and the Supreme Court, even for its culture and landscape. But there's an underlying element of the District that maintains its efficiency as a tourist destination for travelers from around the globe: it's a hotbed of innovation, technology and connectivity.

See more award winners here! In 2017, Washington welcomed a wealth of new, smart developments: It installed North America's first "intelligent" wastewater pumping system, equipped city trash cans with sensors, adopted five dockless bike-share pilot programs, installed free Wi-Fi across 17% of the city and was even named the world's first LEED Platinum city. These projects and more are what have motivated DC Chief Technology Officer Archana Vemulapalli to push toward a "smarter DC."

INTERACTIVE GRAPHIC Components to being City of the Year

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Visualization: Natalie Forman/Industry Dive "We have taken a multi-pronged approach toward how we want to push out the smart city vision," Vemulapalli explained. She said focusing on the city's core values — to be resilient, sustainable, equitable, transparent and collaborative — has helped the city guide the investments and decisions that are made for smart growth.

Smarter DC, an interagency group comprised of dozens of city departments including the Office of the CTO (OCTO), District Department of Transportation (DDOT), the Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) and DC Water, is the collaborative effort that oversees these investments.

"Our SmarterDC initiative is about building a city that is more sustainable, more efficient, and more inclusive," said Mayor Muriel Bowser. "Through our collaborative approach to technology, Washington, DC has become the capital of inclusive innovation. In the years to come, we look forward to creating an even safer, stronger, and smarter city for all our residents and visitors."

Vemulapalli explained that the participating departments have no additional allocations or resources for the smart city projects — instead, the city encourages existing staff to solve problems in a smart way, overall. "As a technology agency [OCTO], we have a lot of really smart people here, so it was about being strategic in how we utilize them and empower them."

If anyone comes to you and tells you they’re a smart city and they don’t have a strong resiliency strategy, and there’s not efforts focused on resiliency, that’s not an inherently smart city.

—Archana Vemulapalli, CTO District of Columbia

Photo Courtesy of Natalie Forman/

Read the full article originally posted on Industry Dive