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Small Alberta city adopts ambitious new urban technologies
[This story is adapted from an article originally written by Sharon Crowther and published by the Globe and Mail on November 12, 2017]
St. Albert may seem like an unlikely leader in the field, but this city started advancing a digitization strategy in 2013. Three years later, in October 2016, St Alberta launched its Smart City Masterplan.
Prior to 2016 it was traditionally a city where people would spend their childhood then leave when came the time to search for work opportunities and more affordable housing options. In digitizing, St. Albert is aiming to attract and retain new residents, especially residents from a younger demographic, and to remain economically competitive.
Data and technology will help St. Albert attract and retain new residents by providing more affordable, smart housing options, efficient services and fast, green public transportation.
Over time, the savings generated by St. Albert as a smart city will be passed to its residents and reinvested in the city.
Although St. Albert’s digitization strategies are still ongoing, the results of the housing and real estate markets have been promising in the last few years.
The 2016 census reported that between 2014 and 2016 there has been a 17% increase in apartments occupied in St Albert between, and in 2017, the selling price of city-centre condos went down from an average $423,274 to $199,900.
Rick Huijbregts, Cisco’s vice-president of digital transformation, highlights how new urban technologies will impact the buildings themselves by being smart homes that are more efficient and responsive, with better controlled spaces for residents.
He also highlights the impact that such an environment would have to attract new residents and businesses. An environment that enables flexibility for work whether from home, a nearby coffee shop or co-working space, that has accessible, fast and sustainable transportation options, or that has efficient services, will attract people and, in time, create growth.
Increase in apartments occupied
Decrease in city-centre condo selling price