CCI Launches Regional “Safe + Smart Cities” Pilot Project

The Chesapeake Crescent Initiative (CCI), a public-private collaborative founded six years ago to support technological innovation, is leading a “Safe + Smart Cities” coalition to help cities optimize their operational performance and harden their resiliency through the efficient use of technology. The coalition has selected the city of Newark, Delaware for its first pilot, to be followed by a second one to be announced later this fall.

CCI has assembled a group of world-class experts from technology industries, academia, government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the law, and the financial sector to provide pro-bono expertise and recommendations to selected municipalities in the mid-Atlantic region of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. The recommendations are intended to provide pragmatic and feasible options to help visionary urban communities achieve or exceed their “safe and smart” objectives while also increasing global competitiveness, sustaining regional economic growth, and improving citizens’ lives.

CCI selected Newark, home to the University of Delaware, for its initial pilot project due to both local and state-level visionary leadership. Delaware Governor Jack Markell, a member of the President’s Task Force on Climate Change, issued his own Executive Order on climate change and resiliency last year. The City of Newark has championed progressive, citizen-focused initiatives designed to improve community services, such as the installation of smart energy and water meters, making it an ideal site for the initiative’s first pilot.

“This project provides a tremendous opportunity for the City of Newark to build on our state’s efforts to both operate more efficiently and to enhance our resiliency so we mitigate the damage of disaster situations before they happen,” said Governor Markell. “The strategies developed as a result of this effort will allow us to maximize our limited resources in a way that best serves the citizens of Delaware.”

“Newark, Delaware is honored to serve as the first pilot community for the Safe + Smart Cities coalition,” said Newark City Manager Carol Houck. “My staff and I are looking forward to participating in this collaborative process and we are cognizant of the tangible benefits to be derived from the opportunity. Improving the livability of our community through an increased use of technology, embracing operational efficiencies, and focusing on sustainability are among our prime goals, which align well with the objectives of the initiative.”

The Newark pilot project will kick off with a collaborative discovery workshop to focus on municipality’s technological maturity, its particular risks and vulnerabilities, status of its infrastructure, and what tools could be utilized to help implement the city’s “safe and smart” vision. The product of this collaborative session will be a Safe + Smart City “blueprint,” which will outline “big picture” recommendations for improving and integrating critical hard and soft infrastructure functions including buildings, public safety, energy, transportation, water/wastewater, and information and communication technologies (ICT).

The initiative will merge strategies for improving both resiliency and “smart city” technology in a distinctive way.  “Since 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy, improving urban areas’ resiliency -- how well they cope with both natural and man-made disasters -- has become a priority,” explained Herb Miller, Co-Founder and Vice Chair of CCI. “At the same time, cities also have focused on how to use technology to improve their operational efficiency, sustainability, livability, and connectivity to their constituents. But these approaches are often pursued through separate channels with different stakeholders, even though they have many core commonalities.”  

“At CCI, our work with academia, government, and industry led us to see the critical need for a cross-sector, integrated approach to making cities both safer and smarter,” added Stephanie Carnes, Managing Director of CCI. “We envision that this coalition and the program’s framework will be of service to Newark and its citizens while also generating broader lessons which can then be applied as a reference model for many other municipalities and the nation as a whole.”

As the lead organization in the Safe + Smart Cities pilot program, CCI will build on its existing relationships with public and private sector leaders as well as its mission to advance innovation through new models of public and private sector collaboration. Key participants include:

·         The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will conduct research on the pilot municipalities as well as relevant State and Federal government programs, and develop policy recommendations.    

·         The law firm Holland & Knight will provide legal analysis, ensuring the legal viability of the team’s policy recommendations.

·         Several academic institutions within the region – including Virginia Tech, the University of Maryland, and the University of Delaware -- will leverage their substantial expertise in the area of resiliency and risk mitigation.

·         A number of technology firms --including Cisco, Schneider Electric, AtHoc, Verint Systems, Inc., and Priority 5 - will examine the technological maturity of each pilot city, contribute vendor-neutral insights from a business and technical perspective, and offer suggestions on how the city can optimize its efficiency.

·         National Standard Finance will conduct research on the current funding and financing tools available to each pilot city and identify potential funding resources to help implement the project team’s recommendations.

The coalition will coordinate directly with the Delaware state government as well as Federal government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, to ensure that the resulting recommendations are aligned with State and Federal policy objectives. 

The ultimate objective of this pilot project is to develop a tangible, actionable and comprehensive Safe + Smart Cities program that can:  

·         improve the overall operations and management of local government, both day to day as well as in times of adversity;

·         expand capabilities in urban data collection, analysis, and dissemination;

·         purposefully create beneficial new linkages among community residents;

·         help democratize and expand individual citizens’ participation in government; and

·         create an effective, replicable model of public-private collaboration.

The Chesapeake Crescent Initiative (CCI) is a regional collaborative to advance innovation in energy, life sciences, and security in the “Chesapeake Crescent” region of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. CCI’s leadership includes Federal government agencies, State and local government leaders, major private sector companies, and academic institutions. CCI was launched in 2008 with the mission of advancing innovation in energy, security, and life sciences through new models of government, university, and private enterprise collaboration. Learn more at:


Participants in the CCI “Safe + Smart Cities” Coalition

Non-Profit and Non-Governmental Organizations

The Chesapeake Crescent Initiative (CCI) is a regional collaborative to advance innovation in energy, life sciences, and security in the “Chesapeake Crescent” region of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. CCI’s leadership includes Federal government agencies, state and local government leaders, major private sector companies, and academic institutions. CCI was launched in 2008 with the mission of mission establishing the region as a global leader in energy, security, and life sciences innovation through new models of government, university, and private enterprise collaboration.

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, chartered by the U.S. Congress as the official memorial to President Woodrow Wilson, is the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum for tackling global issues through independent research and open dialogue to inform actionable ideas for Congress, the Administration and the broader policy community.  The Center's Urban Sustainability Laboratory builds on more than two decades of programming to promote inclusive, safe and sustainable cities. The Urban Sustainability Laboratory identifies innovation in urban policy both in the United States and abroad and provides government leaders with new solutions to challenges, identifying strategies to leverage the opportunities found in an increasingly urbanized world. By creating networks of urban academics, policymakers, practitioners and leaders from civil society, the Urban Sustainability Laboratory engages experts from around the world to advance policies to prepare for the global urban future.

Technology Companies

AtHoc is the recognized leader, innovator and trusted partner in network-centric interactive crisis communication systems. AtHoc's products are used for physical security, business continuity, employee protection, personnel accountability, staff recall and regulatory compliance for military, homeland security, government, healthcare, industrial and commercial organizations. AtHoc was recently awarded Government Security News' (GSN) award for Best Mass Notification System and has also been recognized by Gartner, Inc. as a leader in its Magic Quadrant for Emergency Mass Notification Services and by IHS Inc. as The Fastest Growing Mass Notification Software Supplier.

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in IT that helps companies seize the opportunities of tomorrow by proving that amazing things can happen when you connect the previously unconnected.

Priority 5 Holdings is the creator and publisher of the unique suite of software programs known collectively as the Touch Assisted Command and Control System, or TACCS™.  TACCS™ is the trusted situational awareness and decision support software system for operations centers at every organizational level, and creates a dynamic, real time common operating picture that supports all four elements of team situational awareness (perceiving, understanding, projecting and sharing) and the full range of preparedness activities (mitigation, prevention, preparedness, response and recovery).  The TACCS™-based system installed by the Greater Lafourche Port Commission is the recipient of the American Association of Port Authorities 2013 IT award for operations and security software.

Schneider Electric is a global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries. The company offers integrated solutions across multiple market segments, including leadership positions in utilities and infrastructures, industries and machine manufacturers, non-residential buildings, data centers and networks, and the residential sector. The group is focused on making energy safe, reliable, efficient, productive, and green, through an active commitment to helping individuals and organizations make the most of their energy.

Verint Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: VRNT) is a global leader in Actionable Intelligence® solutions. Actionable Intelligence is a necessity in a dynamic world of massive information growth because it empowers organizations with crucial insights and enables decision makers to anticipate, respond and take action. Verint Actionable Intelligence solutions help organizations address three important challenges: customer engagement optimization; security intelligence; and fraud, risk and compliance. Today, more than 10,000 organizations in over 180 countries, including over 80 percent of the Fortune 100, use Verint solutions to improve enterprise performance and make the world a safer place.


National Standard Finance, LLC is a leading independent, globally-integrated, asset-based long-term investor. The company develops, finances, acquires, and owns essential social and economic infrastructure assets and real estate. Its progressive and innovative organization works in emerging and developed global sovereign and public markets. The firm invests in a wide range of assets including educational, correctional and public services facilities; transportation infrastructure such as ports, rails, roads, bridges and airports; equipment; hospitals and other health facilities; and both traditional and renewable energy projects. 


Holland & Knight LLP is an international law firm with over 1,000 lawyers working in 20 offices throughout the United States, as well as international offices in Bogotá and Mexico City.  In the Chesapeake Crescent Region, Holland & Knight has major offices in both Northern Virginia and Washington, DC, whose lawyers provide advice and representation to clients in the areas of federal, state and local government contracts, federal and state government relations, real estate and finance.

Academic Institutions

University of Delaware is the state’s largest university, with its main campus located in Newark, the site of CCI’s first Safe + Smart Cities pilot. It has about approximately 16,000 undergraduate students and 3,500 graduate students. Founded in 1743 as a small private academy, the University is now research-intensive and technologically advanced. Its 271-acre Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus, created in 2009 on the site of a  former Chrysler assembly plant, serves as a collaborative innovation hub focused on research and innovation partnerships in energy and the environment, health and life sciences, and defense and national security.

The University of Maryland’s Center for Disaster Resilience serves to assist individuals, communities and governments in understanding and reducing the catastrophic effects of natural hazards, especially coastal and riverine flood hazards. The Center comprises a team of risk and resilience experts and their partners in government, private practice, and academia, providing risk assessment, risk communication, and risk reduction capabilities to help decision-makers build community resilience. With the District of Columbia, Baltimore, Annapolis and Ocean City all nearby, the center is ideally located to both understand and better serve the urban and coastal infrastructure challenges of the region. Specializing in flood and coastal risk management, the center helps communities integrate the complex science and engineering of flood risk analysis with the often confusing policies around land-use, building codes and environmental protection to improve watershed and coastal planning. The center excels at bringing stakeholders together to find and implement sustainable, disaster resilient solutions.

Virginia Tech’s Global Forum on Urban and Regional Resilience (GFURR) brings together faculty from Virginia Tech and partner organizations to expand the knowledge base on resilience.  Resilience has become an important concept in planning and policy in response to vulnerabilities resulting from climate change; economic, social and political instability; and population expansion into places where the potential for human disruptions from natural events is heightened. GFURR was established in 2013 to build on the university’s existing base of faculty and partnerships. It has offices on the main campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and in the Virginia Tech Research Center in Arlington, Virginia.

Government (Newark, DE Pilot)

The City of Newark

The State of Delaware

US Department of Homeland Security