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Why Scottsdale Wants To Hear Your Privacy Concerns

Scottsdale wants to become smarter and it’s asking students, residents and companies to help.

On Wednesday, Dec. 11, Scottsdale will host a workshop to explore what it means to be a smart city. Assistant City Manager Brent Stockwell described it as combining traditional infrastructure — like roads and buildings — with technology to enrich people’s lives. He gave an example of another city that uses sensors on its buses to measure pavement.

“They can find potholes earlier, you know, even when the cracks start to form because they noticed a little bump in the road,” he said. “And then they can report that and that can get replaced much more quickly than waiting for a street to deteriorate to the point that a pothole forms or there’s a big crack and someone has to remember it after they’ve driven and taken time to go and report that to the city.”

Scottsdale currently uses sensors and cameras at traffic signals and along the roads and, in the northeast part of Old Town, sensors are embedded in the pavement at parking spaces and people can check availability by using a smartphone app.

The workshop at Mustang Library will focus on residents and business owners sharing their needs and priorities. Based on public input, Scottsdale will create a "Smart City" strategic roadmap which could guide future decision making. 

“It’s really important, you know again, that we’re thinking through these issues now so that when technology decisions are made that we can kind of put them through this framework of understanding what is acceptable and what wouldn’t be acceptable,” Stockwell said.

He also stressed the importance of addressing privacy rights, the needs of the city for data-driven insights and the responsibilities of vendors that work with the city.

“Confidentiality, privacy and security are really important issues to the city of Scottsdale and they’re built into other policies that we have around the city’s use of data,” he said.

Building a Smart City in Scottsdale: A Citizen Innovator Workshop
Wednesday, Dec. 11
5:15 to 7:45 p.m.
Mustang Library Auditorium
10101 N. 90th St.
Scottsdale, AZ


As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.