City of Asheville seeking citizen ideas for IBM Smarter Cities tech grant

The City of Asheville’s Information Technology Services Department is collecting ideas from the public for technological opportunities as part of a proposed application for an IBM Corporation Smarter Cities grant. IBM is currently taking applications for up to $400,000 for technology improvements that provide enhanced and efficient interactions between citizens and municipal organizations.

Asheville City Council will consider approving a grant application at its Dec. 14 meeting, and in advance of that presentation, IT Services is calling for ideas from the community for ways tech can be used to provide a greater level of service. In addition to phone and email (listed at the City’s web site here, citizens can contribute via a new Twitter handle at www.twitter/avlcio.

“We really, actively want to know how we can make technology better for people,” says IT Director Jonathan Feldman. “People are seeing our technology investments begin to pay off. This is an opportunity to ask ‘What’s next?’”

Though the City of Asheville’s past and upcoming technological advances make it a solid candidate for consideration, a good response of suggestions from the community will further strengthen the grant application, Feldman says.

The use of technology can provide platforms for information gathering and communication that may not have been possible in the past, and the best applications for technology may come from members the Asheville community.

Examples of ideas so far include applications to report street maintenance needs like potholes via smart phones and quick access to parking availability in city decks.

The City of Asheville has a strong record of providing technological pathways to get information to the public, including the award-winning mapAsheville Developer Mapper and Priority Places applications and a $2M Business Technology Improvement Project that is aimed at reducing paper-based systems and transforming the City’s 1960s-era core business systems into a portfolio of modern, open systems.

In 2010, an RFP process was begun to provide technology tools that will significantly improve development services in the City. The system will be designed to accommodate a changing business environment, increasing customer service and also driving transparency, opening up information to everyone.

Click here for more information about the City of Asheville’s Technology Improvement Projects.