INTRODUCING SMART CITY TECHNOLOGY TO ENHANCE "THE SOUL OF A CITY IN THE HEART OF NATURE"

In May 2019, the Crescent Communities Commercial Mixed Use team brought together leaders from the City of Charlotte, the Department of Transportation, Charlotte Water, Duke Energy Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Verizon, Google Fiber, and several other organizations to discuss how elements of a "Smart City" can be applied at the River District to enhance "The Soul of a City in the Heart of Nature." Nearly 50 experts convened at the Charlotte Powerhouse Studio in South End to share their thoughts on best practices based on their areas of focus. 

Given the immense scale and scope of the 1400-acre master-planned community, the Crescent Communities team understands the importance of thinking long-term to ensure we can incorporate technology that is not only being introduced to the market today, but also those concepts still under development.  Implementation of many “smart” elements requires collaboration across disciplines, so inviting all stakeholders together to begin the conversation was a critical the first step in the process.

The River District vision is built on principles designed to guide the evolution of the community long after our involvement has ended.  There is a clear statement of our respect for the environment, a commitment to the creation of sustainable community relationships and to the well-being of all who live, work and play at the River District. During the Smart Community Workshop, we reinforced the importance of applying technology not simply for the sake of technology, but instead to enhance the lives of all who are a part of our community.

Workshop participants were arranged into groups and asked to consider how “Smart City” technology could be applied to one of the 5 areas of focus for the River District:

  • Environment (waste, water, and energy)
  • Community (learning and engagement)
  • Health (mobility and access)
  • Happiness (connection and well-being)
  • Longevity (diversity and resilience)

The thought leaders in attendance contributed to an energetic and productive discussion.  The ideas presented included bold concepts to enhance water conservation, energy production and waste reduction.  We discussed how technology could be incorporated throughout the community to reinforce lifelong learning.  Leaders shared their thoughts on the future of transit and mobility both within and connecting to the River District.  Several groups highlighted the importance of using technology to bring people together, rather than to isolate them, which is a perceived drawback to technology.  The ideas presented generated thoughtful dialogue among the group during the workshop, and the importance of collaboration and connections became evident. 

 

The Crescent Communities team is excited to begin exploring the steps necessary to bring these bold ideas to reality.  We consider this workshop as the first step toward forging relationships with the partners with whom we will continue to collaborate in order to bring our ideas to life!  Stay tuned to discover what unfolds at the River District!