The Deputy Chief Operating Officer for Smart and Sustainable Communities of San Diego, David Graham, has begun a new role in neighbouring Carlsbad as the first Chief Innovation Officer for the Californian city.
Graham said that the opportunity to work in a “1-2-3” city–100,000 to 300,000 people–that is close to residents and nimble was attractive.
“The City of Carlsbad is known as a well-run, fiscally-sound city that has tech start-ups and established global companies like Viasat,” he told Cities Today prior to starting his new role. “They’ve also invested in intelligent infrastructure like a connected traffic signal system which can be the basis for strides in mobility.”
Graham takes with him 20 years of local government experience from the City of San Diego and county, and from working in private-sector public affairs.
His aim is to grow an inclusive connected community that delivers on creating a more convenient city.
“Delivering projects for the people of Carlsbad comes first and in doing so we can help demonstrate real solutions to tough challenges on which other cities can iterate,” he added.
As a board member of Cleantech, a non-profit that positions the greater San Diego region as a global leader in the cleantech economy, Graham will also launch a regional inclusive connected communities effort to connect and inspire more cities to undertake tech and data-driven projects that improve their respective city and region.
“When we’re successful, each partner city will see results in their neighbourhoods and the region will benefit,” he said.
Graham has been an active chair for North America for 20-20 Cities and hosted the September 2018 meeting on Urban Innovation. He will continue to drive forward the 20-20 Cities network and will attend the Dublin meeting in December.
During his time in San Diego, Graham helped create the city’s first all-electric car-share fleet in North America, developed a streamlined open-data platform for development permitting, deployed the largest municipal IoT network in the US with smart LED streetlights, and led regulatory reform to spur housing and neighbourhood placemaking.
Erik Caldwell, the current Director of Economic Development in San Diego, will replace Graham in the interim.