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What Makes a "Smart Town"?

Smart Town | Silicon Halton
Smart Town | Silicon Halton

On December 16th, I attended a workshop led by Silicon Halton’s TU20 team on “Smart Cities” at the newly renovated Oakville Public Library’s (OPL) Iroquois Ridge Branch. The “Smart Cities” workshop was the first of four being held as part of Silicon Halton’s 2018 TU20 Cup.

What is the TU20 Cup?

The TU20 Cup is a multi-month event focused on motivating youth to get involved with technology and business. Teams of 2-6 students will work with the help of a mentor to innovate a solution using technology relating to the yearly theme, in advance to the day of the event. Check out last year’s promotional video.

From Dec to Feb students from high school and university work together to develop a business idea that they believe will make a town, like Oakville, smarter. They pitch their idea on Saturday March 3, 2018 to their peers, mentors, family and judges at Microsoft Canada’s HQ.

The TU20 Cup is an opportunity to work on a theme based project that gives students real world experience. It creates potential solutions that can improve our lives. This real world experience looks good on a college/university application, resume and LinkedIn profile. It helps students develop their leadership and presentation skills; it can be fun too!

This years’ theme is: “How can we make our towns and cities smarter?”

This year’s TU20 Cup includes a workshop series, led by leaders and mentors, aimed at helping the teams for this years cup and they include:

  • Understanding Smart Cities: Saturday, December 16 | 2:00 pm – 2:45 pm
  • Thinking Like a Startup: Saturday, January 13 | 2:00 pm – 2:45 pm
  • Creating a Business Plan: Saturday, February 3 | 2:00 pm – 2:45 pm
  • Delivering a Great Pitch: Saturday, February 24th | 2:00 pm – 2:45 pm


MORE INFO: Learn more about the TU20 and the TU20 Cup.


So, what makes a town “smart”?

During yesterday’s workshop we learned more about smart cities and how technologies are being used to improve traffic, generate renewable energy and better ways to mobilize citizens.

Our task was to define what makes a town or city smart? Here’s what the group came up with:

  • A city that leverages technology to better serve the needs of their residents
  • A town in which its different elements work together to improve overall efficiency
  • Citizen centric/citizen focused city with real time information, with connected services, connected data that is environmentally friendly
  • A smart town uses technological innovation to improve quality of life of its residents with a focus on efficiency, service and green initiatives
  • A city that benefits people and increases the efficiency of work
  • A smart town is a town with efficiency technologies with useful things that benefit the society
  • A city that uses technology to improve the lives of its citizens
  • Smart town uses tech to improve how to experience enjoy our community

What’s interesting about these definitions is how similar they are! They came from a diverse group of people based on age, ethnicity and gender living, going to school and working in Oakville and Burlington.

Wikipedia has has a pretty good definition of a smart city too: "Smart cities use data and technology to create efficiencies, improve sustainability, create economic development, and enhance quality of life factors for people living and working in the city. It also means that the city has a smarter energy infrastructure."

What Do You Think?

What do you think would make Oakville a smart town? Or is it already? Leave a comment below or tweet about it here.


Other TU20 Posts on


TU20 Cup 2018

About Tech Under Twenty

Tech Under Twenty (TU20) gets students involved in the Halton tech community helping them develop a foundation of knowledge on how to be successful in tech. Our main goals are to engage students ages 15 – 20 to contribute to grow their tech community in Halton Region; help develop a better understanding of their interests, goals, and potential career paths in tech; build passion projects in the tech space they are proud of; meet amazing people aligned with their goals and get summer employment. We’re focused on changing the world for the better.

About Silicon Halton

Founded in 2009, Silicon Halton is a grassroots hi tech community of people who make a living, make meaning, and make things happen in technology in Halton Region. Everything we do and stand for is based on our three pillars: 1) Technology. We are passionate about technology and how it can make our lives and our planet better, more fun and meaningful. 2) Community. We are committed to connecting and creating a strong social network for IT professionals, hi-tech entrepreneurs and executives, educators, students, companies and technology enthusiasts that live and/or work in Halton. 3) Growth. We are focused on helping people, companies and the hitech industry grow and have Halton become known globally as the best place for people in technology to live, work and play.