NEW ORLEANS - Today, the City Council convened its first Smart and Sustainable Cities Committee meeting chaired by Council President Jason Williams. The committee members are Council Vice President Helena Moreno, District "E" Councilmember Cyndi Nguyen, District "B" Councilmember Jay Banks and District "A" Councilmember Joe Giarrusso. The committee was joined today by Chief Information Officer for Mayor Cantrell, Kim Walker LaGrue.
The creation of this committee emerged earlier this year when then Utilities Committee Chair Williams announced New Orleans' engagement with the Smart Cities Program. The Smart Cities initiative holds the promise of making New Orleans a city of the future with the most advanced technology, infrastructure and integrated services imaginable. Since the initial announcement, New Orleans has received global and national attention and praise for its smart and sustainable city initiative. Through a longstanding relationship with Dentons, New Orleans has formed a sister-city relationship with San Antonio, a city already doing some ground-breaking work on Smart City grid modernization and distributed energy resources. The City Council has already this year moved the ball forward on a number of projects that will help jumpstart the Smart City initiative, including a recent decision to direct Entergy New Orleans (ENO) to accelerate the advanced metering infrastructure deployment by a full year. At the Council's direction, ENO has submitted a grid modernization plan, a cornerstone of any successful Smart City program.
At the opening of the meeting Council President Williams said, "As chair of this new committee, I will work with my colleagues to make sure we abide by some basic principles: 1) equity of access across neighborhoods, socioeconomic lines and age groups, 2) the pursuit and implementation of sustainable technologies, and 3) environmental health. Adherence to these themes will change how we communicate and effectively expand our connectivity to essential services. We are committed to working closely with our Mayor in pursuit of these efforts to make this a truly cooperative effort."
At today's meeting, the committee members resolved to establish a path forward that will include all interested stakeholders, including the public at large, providing them with the opportunity to be active participants in this exciting new project. The launching point of this public-facing process where the Council will look at the City's system architecture and set policy goals is a "Smart Audit," as branded by NRRI Director Carl Pechman.
Presentations at today's first committee meeting included lead legal advisor Clint Vince, who gave an overview of the Smart Cities concept and the national think tank of which Councilmember Williams is a co-chair. He was followed by Dr. Carl Pechman, the Director of the National Regulatory Research Institute, which is the independent research arm of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), and Mr. David Gilford, Senior Director with Intersection, a leader in the Smart Cities revolution that describes its work as being focused on connecting the digital and physical worlds.
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Councilmember Jason Rogers Williams, At-Large