Urbanova, Spokane, and a Living Smart City Laboratory

CleanTech Innovation Showcase Presenting Company Recap: Urbanova

By Priya Cloutier

Cloutier Ortega

CleanTech Alliance Contributor

Kim Zentz, Director of Urbanova, discussed Spokane as a laboratory for transferable solutions that can be used to develop future Smart Cities at the 2017 CleanTech Innovation Showcase.  Urbanova is a nonprofit that was started by the utility Avista, smart tech manufacturer Itron, and Washington State University.  A Smart City is a city that uses technology to improve services and infrastructure for citizens, and addresses urban challenges like energy and water usage, traffic, and waste.  Solutions used apply system and design thinking to reduce costs and resource consumption while increasing user experience.

Urbanova surveyed the people of Spokane as to what they wanted for their community.  Out of that came smart and connected streetlights pilot.  This pilot enables intelligent management of streetlights that save energy, are remotely controlled and has incorporated a human-scale urban air quality R&D component, measuring the quality of the air and other environmental factors to assess air quality’s role in a healthy city. The streetlights are capturing other data, including ambient temperature, ambient light, peak noise level, motion detection and pole orientation.

Urbanova believes that these simple yet powerful tools can be easily transferred to a city of any size.  I look forward to the expansion of these systems into my own community.