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How Chula Vista is using a regional approach to deliver big results

Submitted by scc staff on March 14, 2019

It’s no secret that we’re stronger together. In fact, in this year’s Smart Cities Readiness Challenge we found a strong number of cities partnered with their neighbors to magnify their impact.

But Chula Vista, the second-largest city in the San Diego metropolitan area, embodies this vision. Even the city’s own website is designed for a regional impact.

Learn about some of the city’s key collaborative efforts below. Better yet, join us at Smart Cities Week San Diego April 15-17 where mobile workshops and other sessions will allow you to see the results of its efforts for yourself. Check out the Smart Cities Week program and then register. — Kevin Ebi

A city website that’s designed for a nation
Chula Vista first adopted a Smart City Strategic Action Plan in 2017 — and the website for it is designed for residents of the city, potential collaborators in the region, and anyone who is interested in smart cities in the country.

Transparency and community engagement are key elements of the plan, so the site delivers detailed information on all of its projects, from open data and apps for citizens to crime mapping and smart irrigation.

But while the site shows how the city is delivering for its residents, it also works to help others become involved. Descriptions of the efforts can help businesses and potential regional partners see how they can get involved. It also provides a means to engage for anyone who wants to collaborate on those projects or suggest new initiatives.

And it serves as a learning tool — a means for sharing knowledge with other smart cities practitioners. Information provided on the site can be useful to individuals at the county, state and even national level who are considering smart city initiatives, according to Dennis Gakunga, Chula Vista’s Chief Sustainability Officer.

How collaboration is improving safety
Chula Vista’s new Drones as a First Responder system is also the work of collaborative efforts.

The program launched last fall allowing the city’s police department to launch drones from the roof of its headquarters to provide a birds-eye view of fires and other incidents, providing information to help police and firefighters better respond. Drones can often arrive before first responders and are able to stream aerial video to the cell phones of both the responding officers and their supervisors.

Launching the program, however, was a team effort, done in partnership with San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation and drone technology company Cape. The San Diego Integrated Pilot Program (IPP) and the Federal Aviation Administration were also involved.

See if for yourself
If you attend Smart Cities Week San Diego, you will have an opportunity to experience the Chula Vista drone program through an on-site mobile workshop. You will be able to visit the police department’s drone control center and see first-hand how drones are providing critical real-time data for first responders.

You will also have an opportunity hear from Gakunga and his colleagues from Carlsbad, CA and San Diego in the session, Smart Cities San Diego: A Regional Approach. The rest of the conference program offers the opportunity to engage in workshops, panels, and group discussions on related topics, many of which showcase the unique regional collaborations the San Diego region has successfully launched.

You can review the full program or go straight to registration.