As a growing city, Mississauga recognized that the integration of digital technology into its infrastructure, systems and processes will result in economic resilience and sustainability. In 2018, Mississauga responded to Infrastructure Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge to begin its transformation into a Smart City. The participation in the challenge prompted Mississauga to think of its challenges and how to implement potential solutions. Their application for the challenge became the foundation of their current SMRT CTY Master Plan. This Master Plan highlights the benefits of engaging the public and having the right tools and infrastructure to support the implementation of Smart City projects.
Through the application process, Mississauga was able to identify the focus of their Smart City projects—empowerment and inclusion, economic opportunity and mobility. With an aspiration of becoming a model of government-led Smart City urban development, the city developed its master plan for its residents. To ensure Smart City projects are more than just technological implementations, they developed a tool called the Smart City Lens. This tool set a baseline with a definition and goals for Mississauga as a Smart City, to which all projects adhered. This tool lists a series of questions that ensure projects that implement technology are also aligned with strategy. Every Smart City project uses this tool as a means to evaluate the goals and methods of the project.
What did we learn from Mississauga?
- Recognizing the role of public engagement in identifying the right focus areas for the community led Mississauga to embed public engagement in their processes.
- Projects and policies need to be assessed according to how they align to the goals and framework stated in the Smart City Master Plan to ensure an alignment between the proposed solutions and the needs of the city.