Small Cities and Innovation

Urban centers and large cities have been typically cited as breeding grounds for innovation and creativity.  However, the National League of Cities, in celebrating “Small Cities Week” from June 19 to June 25, noted that small cities are frequent sites of innovative solutions and advances as well.  Although they do not often receive the same national recognition as their larger counterparts, the benefits of their creative solutions on a range of subjects, such as safety, waste reduction, and neighborhood revitalization, reach beyond their immediate communities and have the potential to impact the nation.

Bristol, Virginia, for example, is increasingly recognized as a showcase of digital inclusion and innovation for creating the first public utility in the U.S. to implement triple-play broadband over a fiber-to-the-user network. As a result, ubiquitous broadband access was brought not only to Bristol, but to six surrounding counties in the rural southwest Virginia region. In Clemson, South Carolina the city government turned to creative solutions to address inefficiency in its debris collection.  By partnering with PinPoint Geo Tech LLC, the city government created a new product: PinPoint- Public Works, which utilizes the latest in technological innovation to streamline the collection of debris by mapping locations before removal crews leave for work, thus eliminating the need for them to run routes on every street.

Small Cities Week, which honored the achievements of America’s small cities and towns, highlighted their vital role in American life and called on others to take notice of and learn from their accomplishments.

Posted by: Hyun Kyong Lee

Sources: Connecting Bristol, National League of Cities

Photo Credit: Mechita courtesy of flickr user Irargerich

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