In the World of Smart Cities, No One Wants a ‘One-Hit Wonder’

Getting a small smart city pilot project to be successful in an innovation district is the easy part. But getting that same project to scale across an entire city — or cities — is another feat altogether.

“Sure, you’ve done it in Peachtree Corners. Congratulations, you’ve done one city block. Fantastic. How are you going to do that in Roanoke? How are you going to do that in Duluth?” remarked Karen Lightman, executive director for Metro21, calling attention to Peachtree Corners, Ga., an Atlanta suburb known for its courting of urban tech companies. The entire small city is seen as an innovation district.

But too often, what happens within these small test areas falls into that unfortunate basket of “one-hit wonders,” said Lightman, during a panel discussion she was moderating at the Smart Cities Connect Conference and Expo Nov. 28.

“Why can’t we go beyond ‘one-hit wonders’?” Lightman asked, pointing to issues like prioritizing technology over serving a real need within the community.

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