Aurora, IL is making a bold move to become a smart city. Unlike many cities, which set up innovation districts where startups, tech firms, and research institutions can gain synergy, Aurora is making the entire city an innovation district. The plan is the most excellent work of Aurora’s CIO Michael Pegues, who was featured in a recent Forbes story.
The innovation district idea is part of a vast economic development effort called Smart Aurora. The city is investing $300 million to improve city services, expand internet connectivity, increase youth programs, and improve public safety. It also includes some flashy touches, like digital signage and a 120-mile fiber network. Perhaps most significant of all is a pledge by city officials to cut through layers of government bureaucracy.
The program also includes a focus on helping kids get access to technology, job opportunities, and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) education. Party on, Aurora!