EXCHANGE MAGAZINE, WATERLOO (APR 26, 2018)
UNICEF Canada has partnered with the Region of Waterloo, Cities of Kitchener, Cambridge, Waterloo and Townships of Wellesley, Woolwich, Wilmot and North Dumfries, on the development of Waterloo Region’s Smart Cities Challenge application to Infrastructure Canada.
Based on extensive public consultation, Waterloo Region has selected Healthy Children and Youth as its community challenge area, and has developed the following challenge statement:
“We will become the benchmark community in Canada for child and youth wellbeing by using early intervention, youth engagement and a connected-community framework to create adaptive, data-driven programs and scalable learning technologies that improve early child development, mental health and high school graduation rates.”
UNICEF Canada has partnered with the Region through the One Youth Initiative to develop a real-time child and youth wellbeing dashboard. UNICEF Canada will work with the Region and local partners to develop the measurement framework that will allow communities across the country to measure child and youth wellbeing against UNICEF Canada’s Index for Child and Youth Wellbeing. This dashboard will be created and tested locally, and scaled nationally. UNICEF Canada will lead the development of this measurement framework for communities across the country.
Success of Waterloo Region’s smart cities initiative will be based on impacting six priority areas (early childhood development, literacy, mental health, bullying, sense of belonging and high school graduation rates). The six priority areas were determined through extensive public engagement and research.
The Region will also partner with the Children and Youth Planning Table of Waterloo Region, Wellbeing Waterloo Region, two local school boards, three post-secondary institutions, not-for-profits, and community service and government organizations to create innovative data-driven solutions to help address gaps in child and youth wellbeing.
Miovision, Google, Vidyard, Desire2Learn, Canada’s Open Data Exchange, Communitech and many other local tech companies will partner with the Region and area municipalities through Phase 2 project and application development.
Phase 2 proposed projects include:
- Building a real-time child and youth wellbeing dashboard;
- Developing a measurement framework for UNICEF Canada’s Canadian Child and Youth Well-being Index;
- Launching connected community spaces;
- Creating customized, data-driven programming concerning science technology engineering arts and mathematics (STEAM), mental and physical health, early child development, among other areas; and,
- Establishing a community-based data platform, and smart web and mobile applications.
- The Region has officially submitted its Phase 1 application to Infrastructure Canada, the Federal Department responsible for the Challenge. Communities short listed for Phase 2 will be notified by mid-summer 2018. Those selected, will receive a $250,000 grant to develop their Phase 2 application due at the end of 2018. Winning proposals will be awarded with up to $50 million in prize money to help communities implement their smart cities solutions.