Smart Cities Challenge Application

City of Brampton application as submitted.

Applicant Information

Question 1

Please provide information on the community that is submitting this application. If this application is being submitted by a group of communities, add each community separately using the button. If this application is being submitted by a regional entity, please include the name of the regional entity with each individual community (e.g. City of Dunn/Smith Region). Do not include the regional entity as a separate, stand-alone community.

Community (City of Brampton)

Name of community City of Brampton
Province or Territory Ontario
Population based on 617994
Indigenous community No

Question 2

Please select a prize category.

$50 million (all population sizes)

Problem definition

Question 3

Please define your Challenge Statement in a single sentence that guides your preliminary proposal. It should describe the outcome (or outcomes) you hope to achieve.

Brampton will become Canada’s most inclusive and fastest growing citizen-driven community inspired by the needs and vast potential of its newcomers and youth; our community will be shaped around citizens’ uniquely understood values and ideas to enhance newcomers’ connection to the City and retain youth – our largest enablers of change.

Question 4

Please describe the outcome (or outcomes) your proposal seeks to achieve by elaborating on your Challenge Statement.

This section should include:

  • Specific goals you hope to achieve by implementing your proposal, justifying both the level of ambition and the achievability of the outcome (or outcomes) sought.
  • Baseline data and evidence to establish the current state with respect to the metrics used in your Challenge Statement, and context around the outcome (or outcomes) sought.
  • Evidence to support the selection of this/these outcome (or outcomes) over others, in reference to the needs of the community.
  • Rationale for applying a smart city approach to achieving the identified outcome (or outcomes).
  • Strategy for measuring progress toward outcome (or outcomes) and achievement of outcome (or outcomes).

Brampton’s vision is to be a future-ready city with a sharp focus on newcomer inclusion and youth retention by realizing the vast potential of both talent groups to our city and to Canada. Our fast-growing community, youth and diversity is what sets us apart. We sit at the centre of Canada’s innovation super corridor, with the potential of significant investment and growing our global success. Newcomers and the youth are core groups that can help move Brampton forward to be a connected city that is innovative, inclusive and bold. Brampton can thrive only when every minority has access to the full extent of essential services and opportunities that are available to the majority. The City can do more to harness the ambition and drive of newcomers and our youth to help them achieve individual and collective success. 

Our challenge statement reflects our diverse population, and we selected our key goals through extensive and inclusive community engagement with over 13,000 residents both face-to-face and online (detailed in Question 5) as part of our Brampton 2040 Vision process. This led to the following longlist of challenge topics: Affordable Living, Aging Community, Environment & Sustainability, Government Transparency and Engagement, Immigration Integration, Job Opportunities, Neighbourhood Revitalization, Public Safety, and Transport Issues. Following a smart-cities themed Hackathon with around 200 high-school or post-secondary students and a full-day workshop with a diverse group of 70 Bramptonians, the following overlapping goals were shortlisted: 

 

  • Create a stronger emotional connection to Brampton by instilling pride in the local culture and allowing newcomers to connect with existing residents to revitalize neighbourhoods 
  • Create opportunities that retain the youth in Brampton and help newcomers access high-value jobs, including in digital and automation 
  • Increase government transparency and better engage people, especially the youth, in the political process and in designing local services and communities.

 

Our smart city approach will enable us to achieve these goals that are both unique to Brampton’s challenges but also applicable to cities across Canada. Our ultimate vision is to create Canada and the world’s first truly citizen-driven city, where sentiment on all issues is transparent, real-time and all residents shape the city, driving next-level social cohesion. But we start this journey by focussing on the top issues for Brampton under this broader agenda - newcomers and the youth. 

Goal A: Increase the sense of belonging of newcomers and the youth 

Brampton’s population includes people from 234 cultures that speak 115 languages. Nearly 52% of residents were born outside of Canada, compared to 23% in the rest of Canada. Cultural differences and language barriers make it more challenging for new communities to access services and connect with existing residents. These challenges impact community cohesion and residents’ sense of belonging to the City of Brampton. This results in few young people feeling a strong emotional connection to the city and remaining in Brampton. 

Data from the 2013/2014 Canadian Community Health Survey by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care shows that the “Proportion of population who report a very or somewhat strong sense of community belonging” gradually reduces for newcomers as they live in Brampton longer. In comparison, young Bramptonians have the lowest sense of belonging to the city. Our population is growing fast, by 40 newcomers every day, and this provides an immense opportunity to tap into the potential of new talent and ideas daily. Our goal is to create a sense of belonging and connection to the city, while including newcomers, existing communities and the youth, in shaping a joint Brampton culture. Our existing approach to engaging with newcomers includes Brampton’s Newcomer Bus Tour that offers an introduction to the Recreation Centres, library, parks, and transit. Held twice a year, the Tour has approximately 152 participants per year. We would like to apply a smart city approach to increase our active engagement with newcomers and achieve the following outcomes:

 

  • Communities will be enabled to influence the design of their neighbourhoods to make them more culturally diverse and authentic. We will connect people in the same area, e.g. through an online engagement hub, to allow them to discuss how to re-purpose a place in their community and create a shared space that brings everyone together and reflects their cultural values. The Brampton 2040 Vision engagement process, our various masterplanning activities and Brampton’s GeoHub provide us with a strong basis for future development.
  • People will have opportunities to volunteer in the local community around the creation of local events or physical spaces that can bring the different communities together.
  • Local schools and community centres will be more involved in exploring opportunities to increase engagement of marginalized communities in the political process.

 

We will celebrate cultural diversity through better integrating a range of events allowing newcomers to connect to the local culture and long-term residents to connect with the diverse cultures and community groups represented in Brampton.

Goal B: Create opportunities to unlock skills and connect with high-value jobs 

The top priority for newcomers arriving in Brampton is to find meaningful employment. Without that, they would not be able to find a home, or feel connected to the local community. In just one example, a few months ago, a Syrian family (a software engineer and healthcare worker) arrived in the city and are still struggling to find employment even though they can legally work in Canada and are highly qualified in their home country. Using various government agencies designed to help new residents find work has been a frustrating experience, only providing opportunities for low-skilled jobs after months of searching. In the meantime, the husband is taking courses to prove his education is valid.

This illustration of the struggle that newcomers often face when they arrive in Canada is at the core of our program. Just over one-third (36%) of Brampton’s working population work in Brampton, 29% work in Mississauga and 20% in Toronto. The largest industries are Manufacturing, Transportation and Warehousing, and Retail Trade, employing 39% of working Brampton residents. In comparison, Information and Cultural Industries, and Finance and Insurance employ only 7.5%. For every non-Brampton resident travelling to Brampton to work in Finance & Insurance, 10.3 Brampton residents travel outside Brampton to work in Finance & Insurance. Similarly for our youth, finding high-value and fulfilling work is the biggest challenge. 

We will place greater focus on connecting newcomers and the youth with the opportunities that the digital economy can provide and helping to connect business need to skills (and vice versa), attempting to cut through the arbitrary boundaries around ‘tick box’ qualifications that currently exist from faceless processes. Digital technology can improve the productivity of the working environment and create jobs by being an industry in its own right as well as through its application in existing industries – digital professionals are sought after in industries from fashion to finance. We will create an environment that is friendly to businesses and entrepreneurs to encourage innovation to flourish and people to set up their own businesses. We will be working particularly with our new residents and the youth to identify what skills they have and what additional training they need to set up successful businesses and create more job opportunities in Canada, in the newcomers’ cases potentially before they arrive – saving months of stress and lack of income. 

Creating ongoing training opportunities is critical to ensuring that people are constantly re-trained to meet the needs of employers in the fast-paced world of technology advancement and innovation. By fostering a culture of life-long learning we will help ensure that all Bramptonians can take advantage of future job opportunities that become available and we will assist them in setting up their own businesses. Brampton will also be able to soon leverage the establishment of the new Ryerson University campus, with Sheridan College as an academic partner, to increase training of students in data-driven science and business programming.

Goal C: Pioneer two-way ongoing and transparent engagement with residents, supported by machine intelligence, to truly understand issues and enable residents to shape their city 

Our 2017 Citizen Satisfaction Survey shows that only 45% of Bramptonians feel that the City is “on the right track in addressing the issues facing [their] community”, with 51% being very or somewhat satisfied with “the City of Brampton as a place to live”. These metrics indicate that there is a need to increase the participation of residents in reshaping the direction of the City and how its services are delivered. We will monitor the change of citizens’ satisfaction with life in Brampton during our smart city program through Brampton’s GeoHub City Dashboard, where progress towards our City goals is displayed. 

Current methods to engage with residents are not working. Proactive engagement has been very low, including low attendance to council meetings and low response rates to traditional surveys. Our goal is to create an engagement process that is more effective, transparent and accountable. Our Brampton 2040 Vision engagement has created strong grounds to build upon and create a mechanism for residents to proactively shape the city. We will trial new mechanisms for two-way engagement with new residents and the youth, before rolling the program out to the rest of our residents. Our goal is to put citizens at the core of designing their City services. We would like to not only engage residents and receive their feedback but also incentivize them to get involved in the delivery of services. We would like newcomers and existing residents, including our youth, to feel like they are shaping the city and making it their own, aiding social cohesion. We will also work to ensure that our departments and service providers are well coordinated to ensure that the operations and services of the City have a simple front-end that citizens can access at ease, whether it is through a digital technology or face-to-face interactions. 

Smart City Approach

We will not be able to achieve our goals without applying a smart city approach to how we deliver them: 

 

  • Openness
    Being open and transparent is at the core of finding out what residents need and addressing those needs. We will communicate and gather requirements through an innovative engagement model that openly communicates citizens’ needs and how the City, in collaboration with citizens and other partners, is addressing them. In 2015, the City launched its Open Data catalogue as part of the overall Open Government strategy. Brampton’s GeoHub is the current open data and location platform which we will enhance by adding Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) and Business Intelligence capability to address current and future needs. It will provide real-time two-way communication on city performance, collective views on issues, and effectiveness of solutions. Being able to measure is key to showing success and transparency.
  • Scalability

    We are creating a smart city approach to civic engagement initially focusing on newcomer inclusion and youth retention that will be important to solving other civic and urban challenges in Brampton, scalable to other Canadian communities. The proposed approach and ecosystem creates a scalable city architecture that enables all problems to be effectively understood, shown in real time and results measured. We will be testing how to achieve our goals with a section of the population, i.e. new Bramptonians and youth, with the idea of scaling to other parts of the community; yet also scalable to the whole of Canada. At the onset of our program, we will create a rollout strategy for how and to what timescales the piloted solutions can be re-purposed for other residents. In this way, we will reach groups that are currently disengaged with the political process and design of services. 

  • Transferability 
    Piloting our approach in Brampton will only be the beginning of our journey. Our ultimate goal is to redefine our governance structure and transfer it along with the digital ecosystem to other Canadian cities that have similar ambitions to Brampton’s. We will create a methodology that defines a comprehensive framework rather than limiting ourselves to deploying only the technological solutions laid out in our application. Our approach and the solutions that we develop alongside it will aim to solve a unique challenge for Brampton (the cohesion of its diverse population) that can also be scaled across other Canadian cities facing a similar challenge engaging different parts of their communities. Our approach will include creating a network of ‘follower’ cities that can monitor Brampton’s progress throughout our smart city journey and transfer our methodology and solutions to their cities as well. Brampton will become Canada’s test bed for social cohesion through citizen-driven engagement and city design. 

  • Integration 
    The key to our approach is integrating many solutions and ideas to achieve a coherent response to the city’s citizen-defined challenges. By ensuring that citizens have a one-stop-shop for engagement and for accessing services, we would like to make their experience as seamless as possible, while breaking down traditional barriers within government delivery. 

Monitoring, Reporting & Verification (MRV) Plan 

We will design a Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) Plan to understand whether our actions are achieving their intended outcome, to make changes during the actions to ensure they meet their targets, and to promote the successes of the actions and draw lessons from these. The intent is to develop a logic model (objectives, inputs, outputs, outcomes, metrics) and evaluation approach/framework. Key steps include: 

 

  1. MRV initiation: We will nominate an MRV Coordinator responsible for coordinating the implementation and monitoring of our program. An MRV Champion in each department will determine appropriate stakeholders for data collection, monitoring and reporting. We will align the MRV process with other city processes to stimulate cross-departmental collaboration to work on complementary agendas. 
  2. Understand the baseline: We will identify the data that will help us measure the success of our goals over the course of the program. Where the identified data is not currently being collected, we will introduce methods to do so. 
  3.  Agree objectives and targets: For each of our goals, we will specify the objectives, targets and timeline we aim to achieve for the short and medium term. Each target will be assigned metrics to measure its success. 
  4.  Set up a monitoring scheme: Monitoring of progress will be continuous throughout the implementation phase, to ensure that the process and performance can be appropriately evaluated. Each indicator will be assigned to a responsible department or agency to collect and monitor data on that indicator. 
  5.  Evaluate process and achievements: Based on the data collected throughout the monitoring process, each goal will be evaluated in relation to the agreed metrics. The analysis will include reviewing the set targets for each project, analyzing the data collected throughout the project and evaluating it against the set benchmarks for each indicator. 
  6.  Evaluation report: The results of the monitoring and evaluation will be published on Brampton’s GeoHub Portal to document how each action met its objectives and targets, determine the successes and recommend improvements for future similar projects. 

 

The MRV will be refined if we receive additional funds as finalists.

Question 5

Please describe how your community residents have shaped your Challenge Statement. Describe your plans for continuing to engage and involve them in your final proposal going forward.

This section should include: 

 

  • Descriptions of previous engagement with residents, businesses, organizations, and other stakeholders on topics related to the Challenge Statement. 
  • Descriptions of feedback that came to light through past engagement processes. 
  • Links between the Challenge Statement and engagement feedback. 
  • Evidence of efforts made to be inclusive and to represent the community's diversity. 
  • Plans to sustain engagement through the development and implementation of the final proposal. 

 

Traditional methods for engaging the public are not truly effective anymore and we are re-defining the way to engage with our residents to enable them to shape the city, receive feedback and see the results in real time. The following examples provide evidence for how we have shaped our Challenge Statement based on the feedback we have collated through our series of public engagement exercises.

Brampton 2040 Vision

Over a 6-week period between September 15 and October 31, 2017, more than 100 City of Brampton staff were involved in the Brampton 2040 Vision public engagement exercise; we went out to the streets of every ward to speak with the public directly. The aim of this large-scale public engagement was to understand Brampton’s full potential and what it could be in 5, 10, 25 years and beyond. The multiple streams of engagement activities included 63 community events, 21 workshops, multiple street teams, drop box locations for comment cards and website communications. Surveys were also conducted at different festivals and cultural events so that the voices of a diverse range of the population were heard. In total, there were 11,041 people engaged, 9,459 comment cards submitted, 1,277 ideas/pins/votes submitted through the Brampton 2040 Vision website and more than 250 submissions in kids’ contest. The citizens expressed their honest opinions about what they liked about Brampton and which areas they felt could be improved. The most popular themes that emerged from the data gathered were proposed for further exploration and validation in the two subsequent engagement events with a specific focus on the Smart Cities Challenge, i.e. Hackathon and the stakeholder engagement workshop. Both events were structured around the key components of the Challenge application, i.e. problem identification, challenge statements and concept solutioning.

Hackathon

The need to increase youth engagement has been a key theme from the onset of our journey. To help address this and ensure that the youth had strong representation in a manner that they could best respond to, Brampton organized a smart-cities themed Hackathon with around 200 high-school or post-secondary students in March 2018. We analyzed data gathered via Brampton 2040 engagement processes and events to define the themes for the Hackathon. The participants were asked to identify a specific issue in the community that can be addressed using data and connected technologies. Each of the 28 participating teams proposed a unique challenge statement and the potential indicators of progress by which the performance could be measured. Their solutions were judged by a panel of industry experts. This was an opportunity to engage the youth in our community and to understand what issues matter to them the most. Based on many of the participants’ personal experience, two themes were highlighted from the competition: 1. Newcomer Inclusion: there were seven ideas which fell under this category – key ideas were related to language learning, job opportunities and access to facilities and services; 2. Government Transparency and Citizen Engagement – there were many ideas which fell under this category – key ideas were related to efficiency in accessing services via a central application, being informed about events of interest, crowdsourcing city data and improving voters turn-out rate. We have incorporated both these ideas in our three goals:

  • Increase the sense of belonging of newcomers and the youth
  • Create opportunities to unlock skills and connect newcomers and the youth with high-value jobs
  • Create two-way ongoing engagement with residents to truly understand issues and enable residents to shape their city

Stakeholder Engagement Workshop

To validate and refine the outcomes from the Brampton 2040 Vision public engagement and Hackathon, and to further shape the Challenge Statement around the real needs of our uniquely diverse population, another stakeholder engagement workshop took place on April 3, 2018. Around 75 people from the City of Brampton and the Region of Peel, academia, private sector companies, service providers, local schools and the winners of the Hackathon participated in an open discussion about the most pressing issues in Brampton and how to solve them by leveraging the smart city approach and digital technologies. Building on and validating previous engagement, the most commonly identified issues from the workshop were the lack of engagement and transparency in government decision making processes, access to disparate public services and youth retention. These discussion outcomes were consistent with the overall findings from the Hackathon and were incorporated in our Challenge Statement goals, as listed above.

 

Youth Engagement Survey

The sentiments of needing to improve the government transparency and public engagement, as well as youth retention were echoed by the Youth Engagement Survey results. The survey was conducted in 2016 amongst Brampton residents aged 15-29. When asked whether the City of Brampton listened to the youth as it planned its future, over 90% of the respondents said “a little” or “not at all”. However, over 90% of the respondents said “yes” or “maybe” when asked if they would like to participate in meetings about Brampton’s future. These results suggest that the current methods of engagement are not effective enough for the youth audience. Shedding light on important factors to consider in youth retention, when respondents were asked to rank 22 attributes in the order of personal importance, attributes in the “Play” category (e.g. food, nightlife and fashion) were ranked lower than those in the “Live and Work” category. Global research by Youthful Cities suggests that youth need to have their basic needs met before they can give “fun”. With over 40% of youth aged 20-29 travelling outside of Brampton daily for work, Brampton needs a solution that will provide employment opportunities for the youth that is supportive of their long-term professional growth, so that they do not feel that there are limited career options available in Brampton and the need to leave for better work elsewhere. The Hackathon described above was set up to specifically explore the issue of youth retention from a youth perspective.

Engagement Strategy During the Preparation of the Final Proposal

If the City of Brampton is selected as a finalist, the full version of our application form will be uploaded to our dedicated Brampton Smart Cities Challenge website for the entire community to view and comment. Appropriate local media coverage and engagement booths will be set up to inform people in the community about our preliminary proposal and to solicit feedback.

Citizens who attended the Hackathon and the stakeholder engagement workshop during the first stage of the application process, as well as other pertinent voices from the broad feedback, will be invited to a second stakeholder engagement workshop to specify the requirements and to identify the priority test scenarios for the solution. We will also ensure that the newcomer population, youth aged 15-29 and the public services providers are proportionally represented in the workshop.

In order to capture as much feedback on the proposed solution as possible, we will update the dedicated website with key outcomes for the community to comment and vote.

All the feedback data, workshop requirements and scenarios specified will be analyzed. A series of technology-focused workshops will be conducted with the vendors and other potential partners to detail the technical solutions and implementation phasing, as well as assessing the timescale and cost.

Engagement Strategy During the Implementation of the Final Proposal

For the implementation of the proposal, development will be staged so that the community can be consulted, test-run the system components or prototypes at the specified milestones. A group or groups of core testers will also be formed to ensure there is continuity of involvement and controlled testing conditions in the implementation phase.

Preliminary proposal details

Question 6

Please describe your preliminary proposal and its activities or projects.

This section should include:

  • Planned activities or projects to achieve the outcome (or outcomes) set out in the Challenge Statement.
  • Clear links from the identified projects to the attainment of the outcome (or outcomes). 
  • Scope and size of each planned project in your preliminary proposal, describing how it is feasible and suitable for achieving the outcome (or outcomes) in a manner that is impactful for the community, ambitious, and transformative. 
  • Measures put in place to
    1) make the proposal open, interoperable, scalable, and replicable or a description of your plan to do so going forward for the benefit of your own community and other communities in Canada; and
    2) enable other uses of the technology, innovation, and data in your proposal.

The root causes of the challenges we identified through our citizen engagement are transparency and effective engagement. By addressing these, we will have the ability to understand and solve not only newcomer inclusion and youth retention, but all other existing or future challenges. A solution that addresses these fundamentals will equip us to understand and collaboratively solve other ‘vertical’ challenges with residents. This will in turn help drive a greater sense of belonging, social cohesion and youth retention through participation.

We will achieve our goals not only through technical solutions but more importantly by transforming the way government works and delivers solutions in response to citizens’ needs. This reflects our belief that a smarter city requires a smarter government.

City as a Digital Ecosystem

Our planned activities aim to shape our city as a digital ecosystem that incorporates both digital capabilities and physical outreach to gather the needs of newcomers and youth and co-design solutions to address issues. Our solution will require an underpinning framework and methodology that defines the guidelines and ethos for engaging with citizens, collecting and interpreting data, acting on the findings, measuring and communicating success, and applying the lessons learned.

To achieve our goals, we have designed a program with six key activity packages:

  1. Understand the baseline and user needs
  2. Co-design solutions with citizens
  3. Incentivize participation in design and decision-making 
  4. Provide experiences to showcase suggested improvements
  5. Increase the City’s accountability to implementing citizens’ ideas 6. Foster predictive planning and proactive city development

Creating a detailed methodology that outlines each of these steps is key to our long-term program because it will give us the capabilities to scale our pilot program with 500 newcomers and 500 young people to other parts of Brampton’s population and other cities in Canada. At the onset of the pilot, we will put in place measures to track how transformative each activity package has been to instill a greater sense of belonging, create more high-value jobs, and increase the level of engagement in shaping the city.

Activity package 1: Understand the baseline and user needs

Our first efforts will focus on reviewing existing data on the key needs and concerns of newcomers and the youth. In just one example of a newly arrived Syrian family to Brampton, we understand that their first need upon arrival is to find a job. Similarly, global research by Youthful Cities suggests that youth’s primary needs are to find employment and live affordably. With over 40% of youth aged 20-29 travelling outside of Brampton daily for work, it is the City’s priority to retain its young population. With the establishment of the Ryerson University campus, Brampton’s youth will be able to receive technical education and become part of a tech-forward city that enables digital (and other) businesses to set up and access high-value skills locally.

Gathering the needs of new residents and youth is the key starting point to ensure our program’s long-term success. We will therefore deploy solutions that make it easy for newcomers and youth to provide feedback, voice their needs and concerns in multiple languages. Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled solutions will help with translation between languages. Most feedback can be provided online or through devices in public spaces, such as libraries and community centres. We will create an online map where residents can make suggestions for improvements in specific locations, and provide opportunities for newcomers to engage with the City before arriving, for example by helping them find a job, connect them with existing residents, familiarize them with the streets through a virtual tour, etc. We will also explore innovative two-way communication methods.

When appropriate to achieving our goals, we will deploy fixed and mobile sensors that will produce millions of data points, traversing the system simultaneously and constantly. By aggregating all gathered city data securely and respecting personal privacy, an AI- and ML-enabled platform will give staff visibility of the city sentiments, detect patterns and trends, and predict and learn, in real time. This will enable a state-of-the-art real-time city planning intelligence that feeds on residents’ needs and ideas, and wider city data.

Activity package 2: Co-design solutions with citizens

A key aspect of creating a digital ecosystem is to provide opportunities for collaboration both amongst citizens and between the City and its citizens. Collaborative platforms will be opened as necessary to provide a digital environment for communicating on topics such as re-designing a neighbourhood, planning a culture festival, or showcasing local businesses. Online tools will be supplemented by physical spaces or hubs where new and existing residents, young and old, can meet to finalize their concepts.

Brampton’s award-winning GeoHub Portal currently provides a means for primarily one-way communication but it can be extended to provide a two-way engagement mechanism to connect government and the community around initiatives that matter. Building on existing successes, the extended GeoHub will allow us to expand our current outreach, monitor community engagement, and leverage the knowledge of our community participants to help solve complex problems with simple mapping tools as well as enhancing the data visualizations by utilizing virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) technologies. The online platform will allow people to pitch for funding to take the ideas forward. To award the best ideas, the City will judge both the quality of the application and its reflection of the diverse make-up of that specific community.

Activity package 3: Incentivize participation in design and decision-making

We will rally communities around positive change by encouraging citizens, businesses, and academics to participate on key initiatives. We will seek to create programs that reward those who contribute to City programs, engage in public debate and decision-making. By creating the Smart Brampton Points, citizens will collect points for participating in a debate, voting, organizing a local event, providing feedback or suggesting ideas for city improvement. Reward points can be used to pay for local activities, such as cultural events and sports activities. Leveraging youth will be crucial to achieving our vision by fostering intergenerational exchange of skills, e.g. digital literacy, to help our digital inclusion agenda.

Our incentivization program will be key to connecting new residents with the local culture and giving them the opportunity to showcase their home culture. For example, a food-sharing app can help neighbours connect and share a meal from each other’s culture, whilst collecting Smart Brampton Points for participating in the program. Similarly, English language speakers can provide lessons to a neighbour in exchange for a meal.

Activity package 4: Increasing the level of digital skills

Digital inclusion is key to ensuring that all citizens have equal access and ability to contribute to the design of public services. We will create programs and activities that raise new residents’ confidence with using digital. This will be an opportunity to connect our digitally savvy youth with those that feel less comfortable using digital, starting with newcomers and rolling out to existing residents. This will ensure that everyone has equal access to opportunities created by digital, such as higher-value jobs requiring higher technical or digital prowess. We will leverage existing and continue to expand Brampton’s part (300km of fibre) of Public Sector Network (PSN) and existing free WiFi infrastructure, whilst exploring new wireless and ultra-speed connectivity opportunities.

 

With the establishment of a new Ryerson University campus, in partnership with Sheridan College, in Brampton, local residents will have an immense opportunity to increase their education in digital skills. Ryerson is a cybersecurity and tech-focused university, supported by innovative and tech-focused business and community facilities, actively working with local partners to create a Centre for Innovation in Brampton.

 

Activity package 5: Increasing the City’s accountability to implementing citizens’ ideas

Past engagement data shows that residents felt that their inputs have not often led to clear or visible result in their community or that their views are not easily connectable to initiatives the city undertook. To address this, we will create a system of continuous improvement. All resident ideas will be amalgamated and the City departments will transparently assess which are feasible and which are not by providing constructive feedback to residents via the City Dashboard. Our AI- and ML-enabled platform will be able to accumulate real-time sentiment on issues, offer citizens options, recommendations, performance reports, etc. supported by real-time data – a transparent one-stop-shop for personalized services, city performance dashboard and a collaboration portal for connecting with the rest of the community through a variety of dynamic lenses. Imagine simply addressing the City through voice activated MI any time an idea comes up – “Hey Brampton, I’d like to see…”.

By allowing residents to experience the suggested changes to their environment, people can better understand the impact these might have on their daily lives. Visual representation is especially important for communicating with new residents on the occasions when language is a barrier to communication. Besides the usual food, dance and entertainment activities of public events, the City will provide new technological equipment at ‘Innovation Squares’ that will allow newcomers to share their culture through video, VR or AR. These hubs for cultural celebrations will showcase the innovation, stories, natural wonders and food from the home countries of new Bramptonians. VR and AR will be a perfect medium for residents to experience planned physical changes to the city and provide feedback.

Activity package 6: Foster predictive planning and proactive city development

Currently, policies are created in a public forum, according to statutory requirements that require holding public meetings to develop those policies. Turnout at meetings is low and the received feedback is limited. We want to make planning more intuitive using the capabilities of modern technology. AI will be used to analyze data submitted by residents about their needs and requirements. Our platform will analyze the discussions in the online collaborative groups through ML to understand key pain-points. By predicting early what a neighbourhood or street in Brampton needs, we will engage in proactive city development. This will prevent residents having to report concerns and issues and allow them to focus on more positive engagement with the City.

We will enable newcomers to record their needs before arriving to Brampton so we can capture the diverse requirements of people coming from different cultures and countries.

Creating open, scalable and transferable solutions

We will design enabling infrastructure (incl. 5G and LoRaWAN networks) that is flexible, long-term and future-ready. This will include physical assets, such as integrated infrastructure for trialling and deploying technology solutions at scale, data assets, and regulatory and legal frameworks to make collaboration possible. A key enabler of city-scale solutions will be having access to assets, both physical and digital. We will ensure that our and our partners’ assets are available for innovation.

Our program will be able to evolve throughout its lifespan, embracing new ideas and innovative solutions. As part of this ethos, we will ensure that all technological solutions that we implement are open and interoperable. Since we strive to trial innovative solutions to tackle challenges that many other cities face, we will openly share our stories of successes and failures to ensure that our learning spreads. We will follow our commitment to open data to share our City’s performance and progress against our goals.

To support scalability and replicability we will create new standards and adhere to existing ones to ensure that companies build replicable products and services. Since Brampton is well-placed in the 5G corridor that will be built between Ontario and Quebec, we can become a test-bed for 5G-enabled city technologies that we can pilot and transfer to other cities. As part of this, we propose to create and support a network of follower cities that can learn from Brampton’s experience. This will enhance collaboration between Canadian cities to scale the successful solutions and share stories of failure.

Finally, to ensure that the technology and data that we use is transferable, we will design a long-term plan for how our solutions will be used in the future and how they can evolve to meet the future needs of our residents.

Question 7

Please describe the ways in which your preliminary proposal supports your community's medium and long-term goals, strategies, and plans. 

To supplement your response, please upload any relevant documents and make clear linkages and references.

Brampton’s 2016-2018 Strategic Plan has a focus on being future ready. We recognize that our community’s growth, diversity and youth set us apart. There are six areas of focus: Regional Connections, University, Health Partnerships, Riverwalk, Urban Centres and Brampton 2040 Vision. These areas are key drivers in shaping Brampton as a city that is vibrant, bold and a hub for jobs and innovation. The engagement methodologies developed through Brampton 2040 Vision informs us of a better way of collaborating with our citizens and is the foundation that we will be building on for the Goal C activities on creating a two-way engagement platform for citizens to shape their city. Goal B speaks to our ambition in capitalizing on Brampton’s ideal location in the centre of Ontario’s Innovation Corridor, where the majority of Canada’s corporate headquarters, Canadian industry-led research and development spending and venture capital are located.

The Economic Development Master Plan, which looks at the longer-term outlook for the city’s economic development, sustained business and community growth in changing markets, is the first for the City of Brampton. We have identified that due to the significant digitization of all sectors, national demographic changes, and increased economic role for newcomers to Canada/Brampton, we require shifts in strategy in order to create jobs and opportunities in Brampton. Every citizen in Brampton (including newcomers and the youth) should be empowered to participate and contribute to the community – not only through work and jobs, but also in shaping the city itself. The approved 2018-2020 Operating and Capital Budgets, including investment of up to $150 million in a university and a joint-use centre for education, innovation and collaboration, show the City’s commitment in attracting, developing and retaining talent.

The City also plans to extend the capabilities of its GeoHub Portal to provide real-time two-way feedback on city performance, collective views on issues, and effectiveness of solutions. This is well-aligned with the goals of our smart city program which aims to create a transparent, citizen-driven city with the ability to measure and transparently showcase its performance.

Question 8

Please describe your community's readiness and ability to implement your proposal successfully. This section should include: 

 

  • Experience with implementing complex projects (i.e. multi-stakeholder, multi-dimensional) that span multiple business lines and functional units.
  • Structures, processes, and practices in place or planned for managing and implementing complex projects that span multiple business lines and functional units. 
  • Organizational strengths and potential weaknesses for managing and implementing a smart city proposal, and plans to address weaknesses to ensure successful proposal management and implementation.

 

The City of Brampton has engaged with a variety of stakeholders and City departments to deliver complex projects that require reorganisation and breaking of silos to achieve success, both in city development and technology deployment. 

City development 

Mount Pleasant Village is an “urban transit village” developed as a new neighbourhood around and based on transit and active transportation. The development included extensive environmental restoration and amenities that are highly walkable and support cycling. With a wider range of stakeholders – Mattamy Development Corporation, the City of Brampton, Brampton Library Board, and Peel District School Board – the project used fast tracking delivery methods, extensive partnerships, project management and organization. 

Ryerson University development

Since 2016, the City of Brampton has worked with diverse stakeholders to facilitate the development of the new Ryerson University campus in downtown Brampton, and an associated joint-use Centre for Innovation to meet academic, community, business and innovation needs. The establishment of the new campus has now been confirmed. Stakeholders include university partners, Sheridan College, Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, Region of Peel, Provincial and Federal ministries, Metrolinx, regional and national businesses, local Canadian Armed Forces and local First Nations

Transport innovation Brampton

Transit's ridership growth is the highest in the country, growing by 18% (vs. 2% in other cities in Canada) compared to the population growth of 6%. Our ridership growth is not accidental, as the City and Transit are consciously introducing strategies and investment to attract customers

 

  • • Züm BRT are planning on major arterial roads and providing seamless connectivity,
  • Early adopters of Presto Smart Fare system for ease of fare payment,
  • Working with regional transit partners to establish connectivity with other transit systems, 
  • SmartBus system on buses allows monitoring on-time performance and ability to quickly restore service, 
  • Multi-channel Security and Safety communication systems on the buses for the safety of staff and passengers, 
  • Automated Vehicle Monitoring (AVM) system to detect faults even before the bus breaks down, 
  • AVL/GPS Solution to track, monitor, route or re-route vehicles and store vehicle related information, 
  • Sharing scheduling data via Open Gov and GeoHub with our community of developers

 

Cross-city collaboration 

The City of Brampton, as part of Toronto Global, submitted a bid for the Amazon HQ2 in October 2017, and became shortlisted in the top 20, from a pool of 238 North American cities. With an established roster of innovative and nimble staff, a working team prepared the bid in six weeks. Our IT team went beyond the RFP requirements, using our award-winning GeoHub Portal to showcase the Brampton site, and was ultimately featured internationally on Esri's story map gallery, as one of the best examples of their technology out of 100,000s of other story maps.

Technology deployment

The City of Brampton has deployed multiple technological innovations to improve the operations of the City and to increase government transparency. 

In 2015, the City launched its Open Data catalogue as part of the City’s overall Open Government strategy. The intention of Brampton’s GeoHub is to provide a location platform that will highlight the initiatives that drive the City’s Strategic Plan, by providing valuable, useful & purposeful information to City staff and citizens of Brampton in a meaningful way. Brampton has been recognized as leader in this field and received multiple awards, including: 

 

  • Canadian Open Data Summit (CODS) 2017 - The Open Data Rising Star 
  • #8 out of 61 Canadian municipalities and regions and 2nd in Ontario in 2017 Open Cities Index 
  • Esri Canada user conference 2017 Award of Excellence for Making Public Information More Accessible Using GIS 

 

The City’s Hybrid Identity Management System was awarded for Excellence in Municipal Systems from Municipal Information Systems Association (MISA) Ontario in 2017. It is an online solution for creating a personalized user experience for Brampton residents using the online services available on www.Brampton.ca​. The new system allows citizens to utilize their existing social media identities, as well as to create a single Brampton Digital Identity to access the multiple online City services. 

Another significant testament to the City’s partnerships and collaboration is the Public Sector Network (PSN). Since 1999, the City of Brampton has been in a partnership agreement with the Region of Peel, Town of Caledon, and the City of Mississauga for the development of a fibre optic network known as the Public Sector Network (PSN). The PSN consists of over 700 kilometres of fibre that connects around 600 partner and subscriber facilities. The fibre network is a combination of fibre buried in conduit and pole attached fibre which connects services such as traffic intersection controllers, transit station stops, and cameras (in addition to City sites/facilities and library branches). The PSN is a critical voice and data communications infrastructure that enables the City to extend network connectivity within the entire Region to support all lines of business. 

Organizational strengths 

The City of Brampton has an agile and interconnected organization with centralization of key functions into departments to create synergies and operation efficiencies that enable the delivery of complex programs. In 2016, the City implemented significant organizational changes, including removing layers in the organizational hierarchy, that allowed the City to be more responsive and business-like in its operations. The corporate hierarchy was flattened to bring employees closer to the decision makers. Many shared services were centralized, including the Corporate Performance and Service Innovation Division. 

We will continue to maintain a Smart Cities Steering Committee and working team which are focussed and agile with a clear charter, terms or reference, roles and responsibilities, regular meetings and executive sponsor to ensure accountability. 

Organizational weaknesses

The Smart City Challenge will require hiring additional staff to ensure dedicated resources achieve success in both regular business and our pursuit of becoming a smarter city. 

As part of the reorganization, the Human Resources Department focuses on attracting and retaining top talent, capable of thinking bigger and doing more with less. Since our collective agreement expires in 18 months, we are doing everything we can to work with unions to collectively bargain successfully and prevent a strike.

Question 9

Describe your plan for using the $250,000 grant, should you be selected as a finalist. Provide a high-level breakdown of spending categories and an accompanying rationale.

The City of Brampton will use the $250,000 grant to create a clear and robust project plan for the rest of the program and ensure that the technical, organizational and commercial aspects of the delivery and monitoring of all projects are thought through from the onset.

1. Governance and delivery structure

Governance is key to successful delivery. We will maintain a Smart Cities Steering Committee and working team that will be driving the program forward. A program management team will be established with suitable capability and capacity. We will review the existing resources of each department that will be involved in the implementation and identify the gaps in resourcing that need to be filled to ensure successful delivery. We will also identify exact partnership models, including leveraging further private investment to create long-term public private partnership.

The cost of $20,000 is estimated based on the time needed to undertake a resourcing review and assign tasks to specific individuals within relevant departments.

2. Scope definition, work packages and programming

We will engage with users of services to validate our three goals and help us design our use cases and sharply define our Minimum Viable Product. We will also test our proposed solutions with test user groups. Once we define our scope in more detail, we will design individual work packages. The operation of the use cases is also likely to rely upon the installation of digital infrastructure, which will be one of our first work packages. Programming and phasing needs careful thought and design. We will spend significant effort and time upfront on program design to understand the variety of activities required, their interdependencies, risks and their allocation, timeframes, resource and capability requirements.

The cost of $50,000 will cover staff time or advisory services to help shape the program in more detail and engage with end users to define the specific use cases.

3. Feasibility studies

Once we define our scope and work packages in more detail, we will perform several feasibility studies to test the technical and commercial viability of our proposed solutions. For example, we will test the capabilities of GeoHub to accommodate our proposed ideas or the alternative of building a new platform. We will explore what infrastructure assets are needed along with the barriers and impediments to their use.

The commercial aspects that we will consider include detailed costing of our proposed solutions as well identifying potential partners and procurement issues.

Our cost estimate for the feasibility studies is $150,000.

4. Baseline data collection

Monitoring and evaluation will also be initiated at the start, such that a robust baseline and plan can be established to assess the impact during and after implementation. Following on from the feasibility studies, we will identify the baseline data that we need to collect at the start alongside the key metrics that we will need to measure.

 

The cost of the resources needed to identify data sources, collect and analyze the data is estimated at $30,000.

Question 10

Describe the partners that are or will be involved in your proposal. Where partners are not yet determined, describe the process for selecting them. 

This section should include: 

 

  • A description of existing partners (what type of organization, what they do, etc.), their relevance, and expected contribution to the outcome (or outcomes).
  • Where partners are not yet determined or where it is anticipated that additional partners are required, describe the process for selecting them.

 

The City of Brampton collaborates effectively between departments and other City service providers. External partnerships include service providers and technology vendors through traditional routes such as Request For Information (RFIs) and Requests for Proposals (RFPs). Examples of companies involved include CDW, Cisco, Esri, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Rogers, ServiceNow, Scalar, Telus, and Bell Canada. 

Another key partner will be the newly announced campus of Ryerson University, with Sheridan College, in downtown Brampton. Plans also include a partnership for a National Centre for Cybersecurity, and a Centre for Innovation – a joint-use facility which will include public and academic libraries and an innovation zone. 

We are planning to utilize two-stage or pre-qualified purchasing processes which starts from selection of pilot initiatives with defined evaluation and success criteria, and then potentially leading to full deployments. 

Through the Smart City Challenge, however, we would like to widen our partnerships and set an example of how the public sector can collaborate most effectively with private sector, other organizations and the resident communities. 

Research by Arup and the Future Cities Catapult in the UK has shown that some of the most effective smart city strategies globally are delivered through collaboration efforts between public and private sector organizations, creating either an arm’s length organization or public-private partnership to deliver the smart city strategy. This approach leverages on the pool of expertise and talent across the whole city, not just the public sector. We will therefore create a framework for selecting partners to collaborate with according to the following principles:  

 

  1. Clearly communicate Brampton’s partnership principles; be open and honest in our dealings with all types of partners
  2. Engage with vendors in a more collaborative way, rather than from the position of buyers
  3. Enable co-development rather than purchase of solutions 
  4. Collaborate with partners that understand the goal of Brampton Smart City and offer tailored solutions that tackle our unique challenges as a city 
  5. Seek out support from third sector organizations that can help us achieve our goals, e.g. build partnerships with cultural centres of the different communities that can help us reach out to new residents and are able to communicate in different languages
  6. Once partners are identified, create different workstreams assigned to specific partners, combining expertise from public, private and third sector 
  7. Connect different public and private stakeholders in order to advance creative partnerships between government, civil society and the public sector 
  8. Guide the implementation of solutions created through our innovation ecosystem of partners and help them participate in service delivery 

 

Ultimately, our aim will be to reach out and be open to be contacted by a variety of organizations, companies and community groups that are passionate about our smart city goals and have tailored solutions and ideas that can help us reach those. We would like to engage in open and honest conversations that will showcase how the partnerships we build are specific to the needs of our citizens and are not driven by technology for its own sake.

Question 11 (confidential annex)

Please provide, if and only if required, confidential third party information. Information provided in this section will be exempt from the requirement to be posted online. 

Third party information in this section should be supplemental to the information provided elsewhere in the application and be limited to those details that are deemed confidential. Please clearly indicate to which question(s) the information provided in this section relates.

 

Other Requirements

Question 12

Provide a summary of your preliminary proposal. This summary, along with your Challenge Statement, will be posted online in both official languages.

You have the option of providing the summary in both official languages. If you provide it in one official language, Infrastructure Canada will translate it prior to posting online.

Brampton’s vision is to be Canada’s first future-ready truly citizen-driven city, with a sharp focus on newcomer inclusion and youth retention. In our fast-growing community, youth and diversity is what sets us apart. Through extensive, inclusive community engagement with over 13,000 residents we selected our key goals: 

  • Increase the sense of belonging of newcomers and the youth 
  • Create opportunities to unlock skills and connect with high-value jobs 
  • Pioneer two-way ongoing and transparent engagement with residents, supported by machine intelligence, to truly understand issues and enable residents to shape their city 

 

Our planned activities will address the root causes of our challenges – transparency and effective engagement – and shape our city as a digital ecosystem, underpinned by our ethos for engaging citizens: 

 

  1. 1. Understand the baseline and user needs in real time 
  2. Co-design solutions with citizens 
  3. Incentivize participation in design and decision-making 
  4. Provide experiences to showcase suggested improvements 
  5. Increase the City’s accountability to implementing citizens’ ideas 
  6. Foster predictive planning and proactive city development 

 

By transforming the way government works and delivers solutions in response to citizens’ needs, we will create a smart city approach that is scalable to all parts of Brampton’s population and cities across Canada.

​​​​​​​​​​​​