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Thread: IBM Smarter Cities

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    IBM Smarter Cities

    Does anyone on this forum work for IBM or know much about Smarter Cities? I work in federal financial consulting right now and would eventually like to move into urban planning consulting. The promotional material all seems to emphasize the use of technology to improve urban issues (i.e. congestion, safety), but I wonder whether an urban planning background would be necessary to work in the practice. Any insight would be appreciated.

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    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    IBM was originally a partner in the Central Texas HUD Sustainable Communities grant, which was to involve among other things, some kind of fancy software developed by IBM that could somehow assess a city for sustainability, including codes and all kinds of things . They were a major part in getting that grant down here, but they were dropped as a partner several months ago. Read into that what you will.

    Based on my interactions with them, I don't think they would place greater value on someone with a planning degree. What they might value is a GIS degree, possibly an advanced one that involves ability to custom program.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

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    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    At my last planning job, we started putting together materials to go after one of those grants, until we realized that it had little application to the work that we actually deal with on a daily basis. The whole idea was that IBM would dispatch a crack team of their operatives to your municipality as consultants to help solve the vexing issues of the day by using their super smarts and IBM technology. Anyone who has been in planning for a while knows that there is no deus ex machina solutions to the problems that we deal with. With this, what you'd end up with is another pretty, shelf-bound document full of recommendations, and we already had a comp plan that served that function. Pass.

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    Thank you for the feedback. I wasn't sure whether the tech-driven solutions fit into planning, especially since IBM advertises their approach as a very new way of approaching improving infrastructure. It seems like a Masters of Computer Science or an MBA might be more applicable than a MURP.

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