Phase 3 Share your ideas! (Completed) March 19 - April 2

Local Government Open to Experimentation

How can Calgary open our infrastructure to foster and enable an ecosystem that supports innovative thinking and creative solutions?

Why is this an ambitious idea?

We need to support existing and attract entrepreneurial companies that require this kind of innovative ecosystem in a cohesive manner. There are a few entities in our community striving for this already, but how can we "turbo boost" this innovation?

How do we measure the effectiveness of this idea?

Enabling a creative and innovative ecosystem within our community could boost our economy, create jobs, support existing companies in testing and trying solutions and draw outside companies to land here.

How is this idea attainable through the use of technology or data?

This is more about setting up the foundation to use technology and data to further fuel our community. Living labs across our city could provide many opportunities for companies to demonstrate and test their products (both physical and digital).

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Phase 3 Share your ideas! (Completed) March 19 - April 2

Digital Divide

Allowing all citizens to have access to technology and programing to improve digital literacy.

Why is this an ambitious idea?

We need to provide access to technology as well as the programing to gain interest in order to educate for the future. People need to understand the power of technology and how it can enhance their lives, it is very empowering to understand the basics.

How do we measure the effectiveness of this idea?

Having people interested and perusing education in technology fields will increase Calgary's talent pool, which in turn will create economic opportunity for Calgary.

How is this idea attainable through the use of technology or data?

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Phase 3 Share your ideas! (Completed) March 19 - April 2

Smart City Connectivity – The 5G ready City by 2020

Our City will enable all actors to prosper and participate in the digital economy by integrating processes and municipal assets into the smart city planning processes. Designated zones for living labs will accelerate innovation and market development stimulating the local economy. Calgary will be a 5G ready city by 2020.

Why is this an ambitious idea?

Calgary's economy has been dependent on oil and gas resulting in fluctuations in economic prosperity. Calgary Economic Development is strengthening the diversity of Calgary's economy by attracting the technology industry. For technology industries to prosper they need rich connectivity and opportunities to innovate and municipalities can help accelerate that process. IoT, remote sensing, big data, autonomous vehicles, connected vehicles etc. are a growing industry dependent on pervasive connectivity. Today wireless carriers can take 12 - 24 months to gain access to specific assets for the deployment of wireless infrastructure. These barriers limit the growth of the connectivity ecosystem and thus slow the progress of technology development. By recognizing these barriers and working in collaboration with the wireless providers, streamlined processes can be developed that balances the needs of the municipalities and wireless providers.

How do we measure the effectiveness of this idea?

Three wireless carriers will have access to over 50 sites (poles or facilities) to deploy wireless infrastructure - Small Cell (4G/5G) by 2020 with a streamlined process that takes no longer than 45 days for permitting. Accessible connectivity and living lab zones will drive technology talent to Calgary and set the foundation for new product and industry development in a variety of fields.

How is this idea attainable through the use of technology or data?

Through principles of ""inclusion"" and ""empowerment"" an environment whereby a variety of actors can equally participate will strengthen the digital ecosystem, resulting in new opportunities for the community to develop applications. A living lab is an example of this opportunity in action. When zones around the city have been identified as areas to test new technologies it accelerates product development.

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Phase 3 Share your ideas! (Completed) March 19 - April 2

Try, Fail, Learn, Improve, Repeat

How do we improve quickly? We need to learn quickly. I proposes that the City challenge itsself to experiment in all areas of its services and operation. Create a method to track experiments, outcomes, and lessons learned. Perfection is not key, volume is key. If you miss 100% of the shots you don't make, make more shots at the basket.

Why is this an ambitious idea?

This idea isn't so much a huge problem as a huge SOLUTION! This idea has the potential to address problems we don't even know exist; from encouraging economic diversification to addressing social issues.

How do we measure the effectiveness of this idea?

The City can measure the impact of this challenge by establishing a platform to track and get publicity for their experiments. Use software which can identify key words to evaluate what kind of experiments are being conducted and what is being learned. Include surveys to get more targeted feedback.

How is this idea attainable through the use of technology or data?

Create a platform for all City departments to publish their experiments, their goals, outcomes and lessons learned. Teams can compete on how many experiments they run and how often the fail (yes fail. we learn more when we fail and need to incentivize it).

Critical to the success of this is that experiments be small and controlled. Thus the repercussions of failure are small and controlled but the lessons still persist.

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Phase 3 Share your ideas! (Completed) March 19 - April 2

Fostering Entrepreneurship & Collective Learning for YYC Youth

Calgary will be the first jurisdiction in Canada to create an online learning platform that fosters entrepreneurial activities for youth city-wide. A digital badging program accessible through either myID or Calgary Public Library can connect YYC youth to transformative formal/informal learning opportunities across different sectors in the community.

Why is this an ambitious idea?

According to numerous economic indicators, Calgary is one of the most business-friendly cities in Canada. However, the city does not appear on key rankings related to dynamics and innovation (e.g. JLL City Momentum Index 2017; which measure both short and long-term growth) and entrepreneurial behaviour.

The oil and gas sector has loomed large for decades and has been poaching great entrepreneurial talent by offering high income salaries. The current economic downturn and ambiguous estimates as to how many jobs will return to the city if/when oil prices rebound, invite us to consider the long-term sustainability of Calgary’s economy. This is where innovation and entrepreneurship matter most.

Recent research comparing Calgary’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to Waterloo, Ontario indicates that the city lacks a) a diversified economy, b) social relations supportive of entrepreneurial behaviour, c) citizens who access/are aware of available networked support, and d) an entrepreneurial mindset for business development beyond quick buyouts and short-term profits.

Without addressing this concern, the city’s supportive business climate (i.e. competitive tax environment, newly completed and several in-progress infrastructure projects, high-skilled knowledge era workforce, youngest median age in Canada, available low-cost commercial real estate, etc.) will not be leveraged and fall short of creating the kind of networked innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem.

This is especially disappointing given Calgary’s long history of more startups per capita than almost anywhere else in the country. This is a task our city can lead on.

How do we measure the effectiveness of this idea?

We will be able to meet key targets that we have already outlined:

• ImagineCALGARY: By 2036, Calgary is ranked as the most favourable Canadian city in which to establish businesses that support sustainability practices (p. 39)
• Action Plan 2015-2018: P1; P2 (p. 43)
• Building on our energy: Entrepreneurial energy (pp. 22-32); Innovative energy (pp. 33-40).

How is this idea attainable through the use of technology or data?

The City of Calgary facilitates entrepreneurial/innovative activities for youth in tandem with private partners and social institutions through an existing city-wide ICT channel (like the public library card or myID) or a new platform that is either built (through competitive grant funding) or licensed (like LRNG cities do -- https://www.lrng.org). Could be accessed and utilized through all mobile and web-enabled devices (e.g. app)

Advantages:
• Aligns with Strategy 2, Action 3 of the “entrepreneurial energy” section of the Building on our energy document (p. 32; i.e. Develop pathways to entrepreneurship for future leaders and youth).

• Wealth of stakeholder interest that could support programming and networking from high school through postsecondary education.

• Federal Government and Government of Alberta could support proposal through incremental funding (aligned with their Framework for Student Learning’s aim in fostering an entrepreneurial spirit in students)

• Would be the first city in Canada to pursue a youth policy of this scale that not only serves a clear need, but ensures that long-term fostering of entrepreneurship (in all sectors) is actively cultivated.

• Expand on existing initiatives to cultivate youth entrepreneurship in Indigenous communities.

• City could make much of the data openly accessible to assess trends in work, volunteering, and social cohesion.

Case Studies: Digital Badging in Philadelphia, Providence and Chicago and LRNG cities(like Kansas City). All of these cities embraced long-term culture shifts. Calgary can aggregate some existing programs under a new banner (i.e. The Hackathon) and forward to the community.

• Link 1: https://nycfuture.org/pdf/Innovation-and-the-City.pdf (p. 14)
• Link 2: https://www.lrng.org/about
• Link 3: https://www.oecd.org/cfe/leed/Youth%20entrepreneurship%20policy%20brief%20EN_FINAL.pdf (pp. 12-16)

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Phase 3 Share your ideas! (Completed) March 19 - April 2

Blockchain

I believe that the City of Calgary could best develop a proposal for Smart City funding if it were to commit to developing capabilities for the development and deployment (the tough part) of blockchain technologies. This is not about one particular project per se, but rather a commitment to build upon the City's current capabilities in blockchain and create highly visable, highly valuable, cost-effective projects that... more »
Why is this an ambitious idea?

The huge problem is that blockchain technology is just emerging, but certainly is believed by leading organizations across the world as a technology that could have dramatic impact upon the way that services are provided. Many believe that it will upgrade services as dramatically as when the internet arrived (can you imagine the City of Calgary doing without internet provision of services?). This means that there is a significant upgrade in services that can be explored IF the City can find legitimate use cases (easy), develop the capabilities to architect solutions (hard) and convince its internal staff to engage with upgrading (very hard). However, if successful Calgary will have elite services for its citizens and can support an emerging ecosystem of blockchain talent in industry and academia (e.g. through Calgary Technologies).

How do we measure the effectiveness of this idea?

Depends upon the projects chosen, but as a straightforward example, if the City were to develop services around sovereign identity services enabled via blockchain it could be a meaningful upgrade to the function provided by 'myID'. Also, there could be an upgrade to the City's IIOT capabilities making the data more secure and more transparent. However, I suspect that the greatest benefit may come from backoffice efficiencies in the finance and accounting functions of the City.

I believe that if Calgary were to commit to this strategy and resource it well, that it could develop into a narrative that could improve Calgary's brand nationally and internationally.

How is this idea attainable through the use of technology or data?

-Increase support for existing resources like innovation lab
-Develop blockchain strategy (which projects, which protocols)
-Integrate with existing ecosystem (via Rainforest and University)

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Phase 3 Share your ideas! (Completed) March 19 - April 2

10-Minute Neighbourhood

Diverse neighbourhood teams to compete to successfully build a 10-minute neighbourhood that allows people to access life’s daily necessities within a 10 minute walk.

Why is this an ambitious idea?

Calgarians are starting to realize that walkable cities are more pleasant and more economical to live in. Given the history of Land-Use in Calgary (i.e. separated commercial from residential areas & lack of people-centric areas) few Calgary neighborhoods live up to the 10 minute neighbourhood (destination centric and accessibility)

How do we measure the effectiveness of this idea?

The ability to retain, create, and enhance 10 minute neighborhoods has benefits for users of the neighborhood and benefits for the community as a whole. Calgarians will become healthier and socially connected. The neighbourhoods will have a stronger economy (real estates, diverse retail)

How is this idea attainable through the use of technology or data?

A 10 minute neighborhood has two primary features – lots of places to walk to, and a way to get to those places on foot. For the analysis, this is mapped in term of two primary inputs (destinations & accessibility). Technology will be used to map assets, walk distances and neighbourhood attributes. Data such as walking distances, health records of neighbourhoods, economic data (real estate, business licenses etc), and municipal data on culture, city services and economics.

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Phase 3 Share your ideas! (Completed) March 19 - April 2

Diversifying YYC's Workforce & Digital Fluency for Students

Calgary currently lacks the ICT talent to bring itself into the future. There are existing efforts to create the infrastructure needed for tech giants to operate in Calgary, but we need to offer formal and informal computer science learning opportunities for all citizens. By 2020, we will teach coding/robotics in schools, quadruple computer science graduates (currently graduating only 1000 per year) and create a culture... more »
Why is this an ambitious idea?

In our recent bid for HQ2, we learned that we have most of the characteristics required to attract a tech giant like Amazon, with the absence of an appropriate workforce. The ICTC (Information and Communications Technology Council) predicts a need for 17,300 new ICT position in Alberta by 2019, but we graduated only 1000 comp sci graduates in 2017.

How do we measure the effectiveness of this idea?

Economic diversification and potential to attract and retain global IT giants to our amazing city. Higher employment rates and the ability to build new business, and economic growth, around technology. Many organizations are predicting the fastest economic growth in ICT, and we must move in this direction to stay relevant and prosperous.

How is this idea attainable through the use of technology or data?

Online learning is the fastest and most economical way to scale up learning opportunities. This would leverage Alberta's world renounced education system, but could create more targetted learning. Through regular student assessment, mapping results against a curriculum, and creating custom learning, students will be able to move at their own pace. Students with strong self-agency could fast-track, creating ICT professionals more quickly than currently available.
Additionally, we could create an online mentorship network for emerging ICT talent to support one another through skill acquisition or the development of new ICT start-ups. Calgary is capable of attracting global giants, but I think we are also capable of creating global giants as we are starting to demonstrate with companies like Benevity.

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Phase 3 Share your ideas! (Completed) March 19 - April 2

Promote the use and improve accessibility of open data

City of Calgary has a very awesome open data portal of which I believe it is under utilized. Reasons include lack of promotion of use such as hackathons and learning workshops.

We have a good startup community and alot of eager/creative social entrepreneurs. If the City can promote more events such as opendata hackathons or help advertising tools utilizing opendata and providing more real-time data-sets (ie. free parking... more »
Why is this an ambitious idea?

There are alot of highly educated people in Calgary and a very good startup/tech scene. Furthermore, we also have a lot of social entrepreneurs willing to make things better in Calgary, but we need the City's help.

City of Calgary has provided us with an open data portal, but even if we have the data and tutorials on the api, there is a lack of motivation from the City's side to promote Calgarians to utilize these data. As such, most developers are unaware of these data or just not motivated enough to utilize these data.

How do we measure the effectiveness of this idea?

You will probably see a lot more entrepreneurs or people trying to kickstart technology in making this city a more high tech place to be in.

An app that allows people to use AR technology to see what a particular public art is all about? Check
An app that tells you what is the closest garbage can in a Calgary park? Check
How about a website that displays Calgary's top trends for small business owners using demographic and census data? ditto

The opportunities are endless and the City would not need to spend a dime in innovating such products as local tech people would do it for their own reasons.

How is this idea attainable through the use of technology or data?

By providing more platforms for people to learn about your open data portal, more real-time datasets as well as promotion channels to support the development of open data technology, we can make this happen and have calgary become a more connected place.

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Phase 3 Share your ideas! (Completed) March 19 - April 2

Democratizing nature for a smart, healthy city

Equitable and resilient urban ecosystems lay at the foundation of a prosperous and smart city. Our program aims to use a spatial model to analyze Calgary’s neighbourhoods for equitable access to nature. Calgarians will be able to designate underserviced areas in their communities for ecosystem enhancement.

Why is this an ambitious idea?

Epidemiological studies indicate an association between green spaces and various physical and psychological health outcomes. By developing a systematic approach to protecting, developing and managing our urban ecosystem, we will create opportunities for Calgarians to benefit from the free services described in the health literature such as stress reduction; immune system regulation; cardiovascular health, etc.

How do we measure the effectiveness of this idea?

100% of Calgarians will be within 400 metres of a meaningful nature experience. The City will have robust biodiversity models and datasets to support future ecosystem and development planning decisions.

How is this idea attainable through the use of technology or data?

Alberta health statistics and geospatial analyses will inform neighbourhood-level opportunity areas to reconnect Calgarians to nature. Communities will work with The City to implement, document and highlight biodiversity and nature enhancements within their neighbourhoods using apps supported by online datasets.

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Phase 3 Share your ideas! (Completed) March 19 - April 2

A technology (Information Technology) hub in the city of Calgary

As a strategic means of economic diversification,proper utilization of immigration policies,positioning of the city of calgary on the world map,encouraging technological advancement and discovery as well as a means of providing economic growth,the city needs a technological hub zoned out for the purpose of incubating and housing technological startups including entrepreneurial IT startups by immigrants and institutional... more »
Why is this an ambitious idea?

Calgary and the province are in need of economic diversification and the implementation of an idea of this nature will not only boost economic growth through a shift from oil,it will also encourage a boom in the information technology sector allowing for more jobs,innovation,knowledge export and tourism.

How do we measure the effectiveness of this idea?

Calgarians will enjoy the benefits of :
-A boost in employment rate,growth of a new economic sector,
-Advancement in IT research and artificial intelligence,
-Inspiration for younger Calgarians
-Higher internally generated revenue from knowledge exportation and tourism
-A city they will be even more proud of.

How is this idea attainable through the use of technology or data?

We can make this happen through public private partnerships,collaborations with educational and research institutions,Government funding,encouraging immigration of information technology entrepreneurs and development of new policies that will protect,fund and provide strategy for this idea.

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Phase 3 Share your ideas! (Completed) March 19 - April 2

Making Calgary The Most Accessible City in the World

The goal is to make Calgary the most accessible and inclusive city in the world whereby equal opportunities exist for all citizens to reach their full potential in places of work, live and play. This opportunity will foster an environment of innovation, collaboration, reflection and participation for all citizens leading to diversified economic growth in a variety of industries.

Why is this an ambitious idea?

In the Canadian Survey on Disability (2012) by Statistics Canada, it is reported that 1 in 7 Canadians aged 15 and older have a disability (14.2%). Based on the current total population of 36.9 Million in Canada and 1.2 Million in Calgary, this represents 5.2 Million individuals or 175,000 Calgarians living with a disability, respectively. In addition to this, according to the Alberta Treasury and Finance Board, the number of people Aged 65 and older in Alberta is expected to increase from 527,455 in 2018 to 1,171,845 in 2041, and most of the increase is expected to occur over the next 12 years. Although the current average age of Calgarians is 38 years, it is anticipated that Calgary will have more Seniors than Youth (15 and under) by 2030, and therefore, highlights the importance of being an Senior Age-Friendly City.

Upon review of the current landscape, the most common issues / challenges for People with Disabilities and/or Seniors include (and not limited to) the following:

  1. Access to Education ;

  2. Access to Reliable / Predictable Transportation ;

A. Transit Announcements
B. Accessible Train / Bus Stations

  1. Access to Retailers (not including Food) ;

  2. Access to Restaurant and Entertainment / Arts/ Cultural Activities ;

  3. Access to Professional Services such as Medical / Dental offices ;

  4. Access to Workplaces / Employment ; According to Statistics Canada in 2011, the employment rate of Canadians aged 25 to 64 with disabilities was 49%, compared with 79% for Canadians without a disability.

A. Better Barrier-Free Physical Access
B. Access to Ergonomics and Assistive Technologies
C. Better Understanding and Attitudes
D. Access to Flexible / Adaptable Work Arrangements

  1. Access to Aging-in Place Housing or Accessible Accommodation ;

  2. Social Isolation

How do we measure the effectiveness of this idea?

Addressing these barriers / issues will become increasingly important over the next 13 years because the Conference Board of Canada estimates that the accessibility challenged population in Canada will grow by 1.8 per cent annually during this time period, which is nearly double the pace of projected growth for the total population (0.9% annually). As a result of this projected growth, it is estimated that 1 in 5 Canadians will report having a Disability or being a Senior by 2030 (20% of general population).

Quite often improvements in accessibility is are generally viewed with through a social lens in terms of being implemented because it is “the right thing to do”, however the Conference Board of Canada recently published a study to quantify the economic impact on labour force participation and consumer spending.

The highlights of the Conference Board of Canada study on accessibility are as follows:

I. Accessibility Challenged Canadians represents 14% of the total consumer market and $165 Billion in Spending.
II. Assuming higher incomes due to better access to employment and rising proportion of Canadians with a disability, spending power rises substantially by 2030 (at 3X the pace of overall population).
III. By 2030, spending could nearly rise to nearly $316 Billion Annually (in 2017 $), and account for 21 per cent of the total consumer market.
IV. Employers would benefit from access to a larger talent pool, as 550,000+ Canadians would be fully engaged in the workforce through 2030.

The overall economy stands to benefit as nearly $16.8 Billion would be added to Canada’s GDP by 2030.

By creating a more accessible Calgary, it will not only help create vibrant and inclusive communities across the City, but also create economic opportunities for individuals and businesses within diverse industries.

How is this idea attainable through the use of technology or data?

Many Ideas with technology could help make this happen, but some examples include:

  1. Crowdsourcing Mapping Data specifically for accessibility that could help an individual or navigate the following:

A. Accessible +15 Routes and Pathways;
B. Accessible Washrooms
C. Accessible Entrances and Parking Spaces
D. Accessible Places of Business and Retail Stores
E. Accessible Professional Services such as Medical and Dental Offices
F. Accessible Entertainment Venues and Arts/Culture Venues (e.g. City of Calgary Civic Partner Venues, Tourism Venues)
G. YYC Airport, and the Universities within the City of Calgary

  1. Installing Voice Over Technology such as Blindsquare (e.g. Beacons) to help individuals navigate the built environment. BlindSquare has some unique algorithms to decide what information is the most relevant and then speaks out with high quality speech synthesis. When the Smart Device application is started, it will start telling the interesting places and street crossings around the user (e.g. upcoming transit stops and retail stores).

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Phase 3 Share your ideas! (Completed) March 19 - April 2

LET'S MAKE CALGARY THE MOST CONNECTED CITY IN THE WORLD!

Calgary has an opportunity to be the first city in the world to introduce a new kind of infrastructure, one that could radically improve how citizens, government and business connect and coordinate services.

The new infrastructure is a digital communication network that provides a digital address to all buildings and lots. Similar to a social network each unique building and lot has a unique profile with only limited... more »
Why is this an ambitious idea?

The more connected a community is:

a) the greater the variety of services
b) the lower the cost of services
c) the higher the quality of life

To date, modern infrastructure services aimed at connecting citizens have focused on physical things like roads, airports, electrical lines and so on. From time to time new technologies are invented, and a community must introduce new kinds of infrastructure to enable new types of services, just like we did with the introduction of electricity, telecommunications, and internet.

Building this infrastructure will enable new kinds of services while reducing the cost of delivery and management of existing of existing se​rvices. Like all good infrastructure, it opens endless new possibilities, some which are easy to see while others cannot be forecasted.

How do we measure the effectiveness of this idea?

Improved CITIZEN - CITIZEN Communication
- Address-based communication: (optional to block or restrict)
- Send a neighbour an invite to an event
- File a complaint directly to a neighbour (without disclosing your id, not a written message just a multi-select like mow-lawn, shovel snow etc.) If the issue is not resolved, then it can escalate to the city
- Share an emergency response data set with a neighbour. No one can the see details unless they open it and when they do you get a notification but now if something happens they have means to help meaningfully
- coordinate community initiatives, collect qualified feedback and votes etc

Improved CITIZEN - BUSINESS Communication
- Businesses can connect their service offerings to a property, and building occupants/owners can see them in an app store type interface. The service """"app store"""" simplifies finding and managing services for consumers
- Local business could be highlighted in the app store like service listings to help them grow
- Citizens can opt into promotional offerings from vendors which allows them to see specials and promotions
- Once you've added a service provider, you have a real-time chat and a full history of all orders, information and communications
- Business has improved visibility with simple tools to help customers consume their services which means lower costs and higher revenues
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Improved CITIZEN - GOVERNMENT Communication
- Government services and representatives can link to each property similar to the business services
- Once citizen or business connects to a property, they would instantly be connected to all their government representatives and could easily see/create events, chats, and so on
- Governments would now have a mechanism with the required level of security and authentication to enable a digital option for voters. Voting could start with use on small issues and overtime, as people become familiar and comfortable could be scaled up for every type of voting
- Census information could be easily collected as it could be part of a person's profile and an option is granted to use the data for Census. Census collectors could skip homes which use the digital option saving thousands of hours of labour
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Improved EMERGENCY SERVICES
- Each resident can create an emergency response data set which includes whatever data they deem important. This could range from relatives and their phone numbers to medications to pets to names, ages and bedroom locations of children. This data is cryptographically locked and is not visible until it is accessed. The creator gives emergency services a digital key if needed the department uses it to view the data. If this happens, the owner of the data gets a notification with details about who looks at it and when.
- Emergency service groups can also send out notifications to a geographic area and know that messages will also be delivered to people who may not currently be in the area. For instance, a fire is occurring, and emergency services can transmit a recorded call or text the """"Occupants"""" of neighbouring homes. If someone is across town, they still get the call because of their relationship to the property
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Improved BUSINESS - GOVERNMENT communication
- Getting a permit is often complex and costly as it requires research into who to even contact. By Government departments to connect their services to a property simplifies everything for them and business. Now a company will be able to select a property and instantly connect to all the right departments and people
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LET'S MAKE CALGARY THE MOST CONNECTED CITY IN THE WORLD!

These are only a few of the measurable outcomes. What is exciting is it all comes from connecting buildings and lots to a social network like structure, and using relationships between the property and people, government and business to simplify how we connect as a community.

This is the future. Let's take the lead and put our city on the world stage for technology innovation and rachet even higher on the quality of life rankings!

How is this idea attainable through the use of technology or data?

This application requires technology that has already been developed but not yet implemented for a city.

Ideally, data about buildings and lots would be connected directly i​n the network.

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Meet Up Office Space on the Go

Increased utilization of City owned real-estate for use of entrepreneurs as meeting or office space. This will add a new revenue stream for the city by renting out these space on hourly basis through a phone bar-code scan mechanism and provide an economical way for collaboration to take place in different areas of the city. Given the high office space vacancy rate in Calgary this service once pilot tested and proven on... more »
Why is this an ambitious idea?

Calgary has a high ratio of independent consultants and entrepreneurs than any other Canadian city. For this group it is not often possible to lease office space. And if you've young kids you can't typically work from home. Also, if you're travelling from out of town and wish to have a meeting with a local client, a temp meeting room easily booked through an app provides a quick way to have business discussions. Coffee shops are noisy and public and it is difficult to have business conversations in a public setting especially when confidentiality is needed or you wish to have a larger group and if you want to have a conference call. A private setting is more suitable.

How do we measure the effectiveness of this idea?

Providing safe, accessible places where entrepreneurs can interact, have business conversations, share start-up business ideas will provide a safe and accessible platform distributed throughout the city that will be not only add a revenue stream for the city but also facilitate collaboration.

How is this idea attainable through the use of technology or data?

An app will be needed to show all the meetup spaces available on a map, windows available and rates. When you sign-up for a slot you'll be given a bar-code that you scan at the meetup entry and scan again when you leave and you'll be charged for the time you used the space. You will be able to rent a shared space or a private space.

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One Window Access to Affordable Housing in Calgary

Our community will leverage technology and partnerships to radically improve how low- and moderate-income Calgarians access the affordable housing that they need. Through a coordinated intake process across over 60 organizations, we will improve the experience for Calgarians needing access to affordable housing so that more people can be efficiently and successfully housed.

Why is this an ambitious idea?

90,000 Calgary households (1 in 5) are in need of affordable housing, meaning that they earn less than $60,000 per year and spend more than 30% of their income on shelter costs. Currently, there is no single place where these Calgarians can go to find transparent information about their options or apply for affordable housing.

There are over 60 independent non-profit organizations operating affordable rental housing in Calgary. Most of these providers have different eligibility criteria and siloed intake processes, which for the most part are heavily paper-based or reliant on inadequate technology systems. At least 36 different organizations maintain a waitlist, and the extent of duplication across these lists is unknown. Many clients do not know about their options, while others spend significant time and effort to complete multiple application processes with different providers. Several social service organizations have created full-time “housing locator” positions just to help clients navigate this complex system. In 2016, The City of Calgary completed a current state assessment through extensive engagement with affordable housing providers, other social service agencies, and tenants and applicants. This engagement confirmed that the process of finding affordable housing is difficult, time intensive, and traumatic for citizens.

A coordinated intake process for affordable housing has been repeatedly identified as a priority by community initiatives and plans over the years, including Enough For All: The Calgary Poverty Reduction Initiative, Calgary’s Updated Plan to End Homelessness, and the Community Housing Affordability Collective’s Prioritized Action Plan. This project is also identified in The City’s Corporate Affordable Housing Strategy as well as in the Government of Alberta's Provincial Affordable Housing Strategy.

How do we measure the effectiveness of this idea?

Implementation of a One Window coordinated intake process for affordable housing would substantially improve access for all Calgarians to appropriate, affordable housing that meets their needs. This approach would create a centralized system that is client-centered and easy to navigate, removing systemic barriers to entry, increasing transparency, and ensuring that Calgary’s affordable housing is effectively utilized to meet clients’ basic needs. As a secondary benefit, a centralized system would remove duplication and create significant efficiencies for affordable housing providers through automation and integration of resource-intensive processes. Additionally, a common intake system would make possible for the first time a single, centralized waitlist for housing in Calgary, which would generate new citywide data and analytics on housing need and supply to inform future policy decisions. Making affordable housing easier to access for all Calgarians who need it will ultimately contribute to a more equitable and inclusive city for everyone.

How is this idea attainable through the use of technology or data?

A shared technology solution would centralize all aspects of the housing application across housing providers, from the initial client screening through to matching each person with a home. From a client perspective, this would create a single application process, with all sharing of data across stakeholder organizations taking place on the back end. There are opportunities to leverage technology to make this system easily accessible to clients through multiple channels, which could include one or more staffed offices, a self-serve online portal, decentralized kiosks, or a mobile app, to meet the diverse needs of applicants.

This project is attainable because government and non-profit partners are already collaborating to lay the groundwork for a future state system. The City of Calgary and the Government of Alberta have collectively committed $1.3M since 2016 to support scoping, planning, and detailed design for the future One Window coordinated intake process. The City is currently working with housing providers and other community partners to gather requirements for a new IT system and determining a viable operating model and governance structure for a future state solution. However, a funding source to build and/or operate a future One Window housing intake system has not yet been identified.

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