Boost Fredericton – New Brunswick’s Living Lab for Civic Innovation

As part of NB Municipality Week, the City of Fredericton is pleased to publicly launch its Boost Fredericton living lab, which is using technology and partnerships to enable civic innovation, solve smart city challenges, and drive economic development for the benefit of the corporation and community. Watch the new Boost Fredericton promotional video to learn more.

Mayor Kate Rogers remarked, “Municipality Week is meant to recognize and celebrate the work of New Brunswick’s municipalities, which is improving the lives of our citizens and creating economic prosperity in our province.  The role of Civic Innovation is a priority for the City of Fredericton as it supports the City's economic vision as well as corporate operational and strategic goals contained in the City’s growth strategy and municipal plan.”

As an early adopter of new technologies and edge applications, the City of Fredericton is giving entrepreneurs and post-secondary education students a BOOST by providing real municipal challenges to solve, and the opportunity to test solutions in its living lab environment. The lab is powering ideas through innovation events, and digital infrastructure like the municipal LoRaWAN (IoT sensor network), open data portal; and most recently Rogers’ 5G. 

Background:

Following Fredericton’s 2018 participation in Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge (competing nationally as a top ten finalist among 200 communities), the City identified strategic opportunities; and developed a proactive strategy to strengthen its role as an early adopter of new technologies, support ongoing ‘smart city’ efforts, and fuel the commercialization pipeline.  

As a first of its kind in New Brunswick, the lab has received national and international attention as a civic innovation best practice through various engagements.  To date, the lab has delivered tangible outcomes in terms of economic output through increased revenue of startup companies, job creation, and demand for commercial office space. Additional benefits have been realized in terms of cultural and economic opportunities for newcomers. Municipal operations are being enhanced through access to high potential talent, and innovation service delivery including projects such as local flood prediction, e-ticketing, and tourism technology pilot initiatives.   

Laurie Guthrie, Smart City-Civic Innovation Strategist commented, “We are providing entrepreneurs and post-secondary education students with real civic problems to solve and an access point to connect with the City as an early adopter of new technologies.  Ideas that strategically align with our corporate priorities can then be tested in the civic innovation lab, and if successful, scaled/deployed into municipal operations and services, and move through the continuum of ecosystem support.”