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Christchurch Earns IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Grant for 2013


Christchurch, New Zealand - 15 Nov 2012: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced Christchurch has been selected as a recipient of an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant (#smartercities) one of 31 cities globally for 2013. The grant provides Christchurch with access to some of IBM's top experts to analyse and provide recommendations to drive economic development and sustained growth for the city.

Launched in 2011, the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge is a three-year, 100-city, US$50-million competitive grant program and is IBM's single-largest philanthropic initiative. The Challenge teams address urban issues including economic development, transportation, education, energy, public safety, urban planning and health care. As part of the pro bono engagement, a team of six IBM experts will be assigned to Christchurch in 2013, working with Christchurch City Council and the Canterbury Development Corporation.

Canterbury Development Corporation chief executive, Mr Tom Hooper said, “Our vision for this project is to create a ‘smart framework’ that will improve the city’s innovation eco-system and help create opportunities for both collaboration and commercialisation of ideas. By understanding and implementing such a framework, it is anticipated that the city would generate higher levels of economic growth across all sectors following a sustained period of earthquake-related rebuild activity.”

The Canterbury Development Corporation’s application was officially endorsed by Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker, who was also participated in the grant application process.

“When talking about a re-imagined Christchurch, I have always envisaged collaborative projects such as the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge helping us create a dynamic and innovative society. To be chosen as one of the IBM Smarter Cities grant recipients is both an honour and dynamic opportunity that speaks to our innovators, engineers, entrepreneurs and scientists with the clear message that we are building a city of the future,” said Mayor Parker.

“We are thrilled that a New Zealand city has been selected in this competitive grant program . Christchurch put forward a clear and compelling case to receive a grant andit will be a privilege to collaborate with Christchurch and its leaders to help the city develop a sustained model for economic prosperity,"said Liz Hampton, Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs Manager, IBM New Zealand.

In 2012, IBM provided expert counsel to 33 cities worldwide who had earned IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grants. These included engagements in:

• Geraldton, Australia, where IBM suggested ways for the city to become a leader in smart grid technology adoption and digital services • Cheongju, Korea, where IBM recommended smarter transportation strategies

• Dortmund, Germany, and Malaga Spain, where IBM formulated plans for economic, workforce, and skills development

• Jacksonville, USA, where IBM outlined steps for downtown revitalization • Louisville, USA, where IBM showed how the city could use data to identify, predict and mitigate conditions that trigger asthma

• Nairobi, Kenya, where IBM created a plan for traffic management

• Curitaba, Brazil, where IBM suggested approaches to sustainability and citizen engagement.

In year-one and two of the Smarter Cities Challenge, IBM completed work in 62 cities globally, deploying nearly 400 of its most talented experts who delivered concrete and measurable results to winning cities.

The need to use innovative approaches that address civic challenges has never been greater. In 2008, according to the United Nations, more than half the world's population began living in cities for the first time. These population centers are more economically powerful, politically influential, and technologically advanced than at any time in history. But they also struggle with increased demand for services, along with budgetary and operational challenges.

Smarter Cities Challenge is a variant of IBM's Corporate Service Corps, a pro bono consulting program that assists government with projects that intersect business, technology, and society. Since its launch in 2008, Corporate Service Corps has sent more than 2,000 of IBM's top talent based in 50 countries on more than 200 team assignments in 30 countries. While Corporate Service Corps focuses on the developing world, IBM's Smarter Cities Challenge addresses urban concerns in both industrialized and developing countries.

Visit the CitizenIBM blog to read about some of the lessons learned during previous IBM Smarter Cities Challenge engagements, and to better understand the challenges that cities face. The Smarter Cities Challenge is sponsored by IBM's Corporate Citizenship program and IBM’s International Foundation. IBM has been a leader in corporate social responsibility and citizenship for more than 100 years.

To learn more about IBM's corporate citizenship initiatives, visit: http://www.citizenibm.com and http://www.youtube.com/user/citizenIBM.

To find out more about IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grants, please visit IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge web site at www.smartercitieschallenge.org.

Follow us on Twitter @citizenIBM ENDS

Contact(s) information

Elaine Koller
External Relations Manager, IBM New Zealand
+ 64 9 359 8708
+64 21 744 988
ekoller@nz1.ibm.com

Jocelyn Ritchie
Christchurch City Council Media Adviser
+64 3 941 8949
+64 27 241 0244
Jocelyn.Ritchie@ccc.govt.nz

Kieran Bleach
Communications & Marketing Manager
+64 3 353 6856
+64 27 241 8661
Keiran.Bleach@cdc.org.nz

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