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Portland – Smart City Journey

The City of Portland undertakes novel approach to strategic planning for the future of its city.

As part of its 2035 strategic planning process, Portland developed an interactive model of the relationships that exist amongst the cities core systems, to better understand the dynamic behaviour of city.

The project was undertaken in collaboration with IBM, and aimed to better understand the cities core systems worked together, including the economy, housing, education, public safety, transportation, healthcare, wellness, government services and utilities, identify opportunities for Portland to become a “smarter city”.

The model integral to developing of the City’s 25 year strategic plan, the Portland Plan, enabling the City to identify key priorities, and to better understand the drivers of change.

For example, by better understanding the relationship between active transportation and obesity, has allowed the city to identify priority actions to enable Portland to achieve its target of reducing carbon emisisons by 40% by 2030. By making more active transportation available (eg cycleways and public transportation), means people drive less and lead more active lifestyles, resulting in both reduction in carbon emissions, as well as a reduction in obesity, two of the cities goals.

“While other analytical approaches rely on breaking a problem down into smaller and smaller pieces, the model we’ve created recognizes that the behavior of a system as a whole can be different from what might be anticipated by looking at its parts,” said Michael Littlejohn, Vice President of Strategy for Smarter Cities at IBM. “Using this model, the City of Portland can experiment with different scenarios to see how their decisions might affect various parts of the city over the next 25 years.”

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