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Posted on: December 11, 2019

Smart Region Effort Aims to Improve Quality of Life

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The country’s largest and most connected smart region won’t be in New York or Chicago.  It’s being built in Maricopa County, Arizona right now to improve quality of life and increase economic competitiveness.

Today the Board of Supervisors approved a resolution supporting the “Smart Region Consortium,” a public-private partnership that connects participating governments with technology-based innovations.  The effort was spearheaded, in part, by Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates, who made it one of the priorities of his chairmanship in 2019.

“This is about breaking out of an old mindset that says government problems are only solved inside of government,” said Gates.  “By building a framework for unprecedented collaboration between public, private, university, and community partners, the old limits on what we can do vanish.  Our talent pool grows; the scale of our projects expands; and the time it takes to implement efficiencies that will improve people’s lives increases significantly.”

The Consortium includes 22 cities and towns; Arizona State University; Arizona Commerce Authority; Maricopa Association of Governments; Greater Phoenix Economic Council; and industry partners including Cox, Dell, Sprint, and SRP.

The consortium builds upon a model of co-creation established by the Institute for Digital Progress where governments identify a problem, and then ask higher education students to use technologies created by industry partners to come up with potential solutions to the problem.  Governments can pilot those potential solutions.  Successful projects can be implemented and scaled through the support of the Consortium.  In the end, the goal is safer, healthier communities with better outcomes for all.

“We’re not competing with each other; we’re competing with other cities and regions in the U.S. and around the world,” said Gates.  “As the fourth-largest and fastest-growing county in the nation, collaboration is our greatest advantage because no one can out-scale us if we work together.  I’m grateful to everyone involved with making the Consortium happen and I’m excited to see the positive it can have on quality of life here in Maricopa County.” 

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