City of Milwaukee Working With Local Companies to Attain Recognition as a “Smart City”

With the help of local businesses, the city hopes to harness innovative technology that will positively affect its infrastructure and make better use of natural resources.

Last September, the White House announced its “Smart Cities” initiative, a $160 million federally funded endeavor that invested in innovative technology collaborations to undertake issues related to infrastructure, sustainability and the availability of resources within communities. Envision America, a nonprofit program that encourages cities to share their methods of addressing air, energy, waste and water challenges, has supported the administration by holding a smart cities workshop. Each year, ten cities are selected to participate in the project and attend the workshop, Milwaukee being one of the chosen municipalities for 2016.

A group of local companies has been collaborating with the city to establish a plan that will make Milwaukee more efficient and sustainable.

In 2017, the city will join forces with the Mid-West Energy Research Consortium to work on putting this plan into action. Through academic funding and market research, the consortium aspires to bolster business opportunities for companies engaged in controls, energy and power. So far, the consortium has concentrated on emerging market opportunities in distributed energy systems, microgrids, and energy efficiency and storage.

The city plans to make transportation in Milwaukee more eco-friendly through different collaborations and initiatives. Bublr Bikes, a convenient and sustainable bike share system, allows users to grab a bike from one Bublr station and then return it to another. The MKE Park app, released last April, allows people to pay for parking via an app on their smartphone.

In addition, the city will be working with private-sector partners to create innovative solutions in energy and water technologies.



Elisabeth Wallock is a contributing digital editor at Milwaukee Magazine. She graduated from Colorado State University and has interned at Marie Claire in New York and Urban Outfitters in London.