Smart Waterloo Region

If you want to give your input to the Smart Waterloo Region project, see upcoming events or focus groups, visit smartwr.ca. Learn how we are working together to make our community better through new partnerships, projects, technologies and data sharing opportunities. Stay informed about the projects we are working on to improve child and youth wellbeing in our community.

We are excited to share that we are one of 20 finalists of the Federal Government’s Smart Cities Challenge! 

Waterloo Region as one of five finalists in the large municipalities category of the Smart Cities Challenge, a new, competition-based approach that encourages communities to come up with innovative solutions to their most pressing challenge. For more information, please read our press release.

Challenge Area: Healthy Children and Youth

It’s official, after months of public and stakeholder engagement, we have selected our challenge area: Healthy children and youth!

Challenge Statement: Child and Youth Wellbeing

Narrowing our focus, our project will address child and youth wellbeing in Waterloo Region. Our challenge statement sums up our approach:

We will become the benchmark community in Canada for child and youth wellbeing by using early intervention, youth engagement and a connected-community framework to create adaptive, data-driven programs and scalable learning technologies that improve early child development, mental health and high school graduation rates.

Smart Waterloo Region Application 

For further information on Waterloo Region’s Smart Cities Application, please contact Matthew Chandy, Manager, Economic Development, Office of Economic Development: smartwr@regionofwaterloo.ca.

We are partnering with UNICEF Canada on our smart cities initiative. Learn more about their One Youth program. 

 A Brief History of Smart Cities
Tech solutions are needed.

In November 2017, the Government of Canada launched its Smart Cities Challenge. Informed by community engagement, the Smart Cities Challenge is a two phase funding competition open to all municipalities across Canada. The Challenge empowers municipalities and residents to think big about their future, encouraging communities to use technology and data to overcome their most pressing challenge.

Once launched, our community, the Region of Waterloo, three cities of Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo and the four Townships of Woolwich, Wellesley, Wilmot and North Dumfries, came together to take part in the Challenge.

Smart Cities Question

Throughout February and March 2018, we engaged our community to select our challenge. We asked our community  to select one of three challenge areas: affordable housing, social inclusions or healthy children and youth. These challenge areas were based on extensive community engagement done by the Wellbeing Waterloo Region initiative. Through an online survey, public consultation centres and stakeholder roundtables, we reached out to residents, community and government organizations, the private and tech sectors and post-secondary institutions for feedback.

 

People standing and talking.

Based on all of the feedback collected, healthy children and youth was selected as our community’s challenge area. Once our challenge area was selected, we worked with the Children and Youth Planning Table to better understand child and youth wellbeing, and with the local tech sector to see what tech solutions exist to address this challenge. Engaging our tech sector lead us to new and exciting partnerships, and we learned that there are many tech solutions to improve child and youth wellbeing in our community.

After this outreach was completed, the Region and area municipalities worked together to submit our final smart cities application. If selected for Phase 2, we will work collectively and collaboratively with our partners to improve child and youth wellbeing.

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