Within the next few months, Kansas City officials are expected to award a contract aimed at transforming the city into a “smart city.”
The project is expected to employ a cohort of tech companies to make the city “smart” — that is, full of infrastructure equipped with technology to collect data and help the city operate more efficiently. Think smart parking, smart street lights and smart water meters.
Since Kansas City lacks the capital to fully fund such infrastructure itself, officials are anticipating investment of at least a half-billion dollars by the private partners they choose.
That would give the companies an unprecedented role in the delivery of city services, and it would provide them access to troves of data about the city and its residents.
On the city’s east side, some community leaders are guarded about companies being given that level of access to city data. But there is also considerable optimism for what smart technology could mean to a historically economically disadvantaged swath of the city.
Read more: Kansas City Star