The US government has announced a $160m investment in federal research and technology partnerships in a bid to create better smart city services.
The Obama administration's Smart Cities initiative will explore how connected technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) can solve challenges in local communities.
This will include tackling crime, reducing traffic congestion, managing the effect of climate change on urban environments, and fostering economic growth.
A statement from the White House said that the initiative is part of a commitment to using federal funds and resources to improve the needs and projects of local communities.
Obama outlined the need to address challenges in cities at a community level. "Every community is different, with different needs and different approaches. But communities that are making the most progress on these issues have some things in common," he said.
"They don't look for a single silver bullet. Instead they bring together local government and non-profits and businesses and teachers and parents around a shared goal."
Over 20 cities will participate and work with universities and the technology industry, including the likes of IBM, the Mozilla Foundation and AT&T, to realise the smart cities ambitions.
Major cities across the US will be taking part in the initiative and will work with their local universities, including New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Seattle, Dallas, Atlanta and San Diego.
The other cities participating are: Portland, South Bend, San Jose, Providence, Portland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Montgomery, Houston, Madison, Memphis, Detroit, Cuyahoga.
Nearly $115m has been earmarked for spending and investment in unlocking new technologies in areas such as safety, energy, climate change preparation, transport and health, by the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Transportation, Department of Energy, Department of Commerce and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Over $45m will be supplied in new grants and proposed investments into building a research infrastructure for smart cities to be used by the National Science Foundation and National Institute of Standards and Technology.
The initiative will initially concentrate of building IoT test beds to develop applications for connected devices and data analytics systems, along with building collaborative links with communities and non-profit organisations interested in using technology to solve local urban problems.
It will also look to make use of existing research on sensor networks and cyber security, as well as tap into investments made to improve broadband infrastructure to create a strong foundation for the Smart Cities initiative.
The US government is not alone in exploring the creation of smart cities. The UK government allocated £140m for investment in smart cities in the 2015 Budget.
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