Tech giant IBM in $400,000 grant to improve Belfast living
A team of experts will be in Belfast next week to investigate how the city can become a better place in which to live, work, visit and invest.
Belfast is the first city on the island of Ireland and only the third in the UK to receive the prestigious consultancy grant from technology giant IBM – worth some $400,000 (£250,000).
The IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant programme is a worldwide initiative to provide $50m (£32m) worth of services and technical assistance to the most progressive 100 cities around the world through 2013.
Issues addressed include health, transportation, economic development, education, finance, sustainability, public safety, and e-government.
The experts will study segregated and deprived areas of Belfast to identify ways of reducing health and social inequalities and help to collectively plan future services and investments to benefit local communities.
Stanley S Litow, IBM vice president of corporate citizenship and corporate affairs, and president of IBM's Foundation, praised Belfast City Council for "convincingly demonstrating its preparation and willingness to make the kind of improvements that will improve its residents' quality of life and become a smarter city".
He added: "We consider it a privilege to share with Belfast the talent and expertise of our most gifted employees, who are the envy of the industry.
"They have premier skills in a range of disciplines – all useful for helping to build smarter cities and a smarter planet."