Winning Smart City To-Be-Announced in June – will Denver or Pittsburgh make the final cut?

Just two weeks ago the U.S. Department of Transportation's Secretary Anthony Foxx announced at the South by Southwest conference (SXSW), the seven finalist cities vying for a single award of up to $40 million to help define what it means to be a "Smart City" and become the first city to fully integrate innovative transportation technologies – self-driving cars, connected vehicles, and smart sensors – into their transportation network.

Two of the seven finalists, we are excited to announce, are our very own Better Buildings Challenge partners: Denver, Colorado and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It’s no surprise to us with Denver achieving 9 percent energy savings and Pittsburgh’s steady 3 percent progress that both cities have made it through to the final round.

And similar to the mission of SXSW, today’s cities have evolved as platforms bringing together business leaders, investors, innovators and designers to drive economic, environmental and social change. Cities focused on the modernization of roads and telecommunications infrastructure just a few decades ago, are now leading the way in contemporary energy efficiency. They are proof of what it takes for local communities to take on the nuances and intricacies that is the power behind buildings, our electric grid, and transportation networks.

As cities create the next-generation of building infrastructure to sustain changes in our climate, extreme weather events, and growing population and energy demands, we wish Better Buildings Challenge partners, Denver and Pittsburgh the best of luck, as they chart courses to evolve their next changes in policy, and focus on important actions.