We Need To Stop Talking About Smart Cities And Start Building Smart Regions

Often overlooked in the enthusiasm around smart cities and next generation transit, however, are the needs of suburban and rural communities. Although data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that the nonmetro poverty rate is only about 3 percent higher than metro poverty rate, the gap increases dramatically when filtering out large metro areas. In actuality, nearly 66 percent of the country’s poor population lives outside of major metro areas. Rural communities also have a much higher rate of concentrated poverty, which tracks counties in which more than a fifth of the population is poor—31 percent rate of concentrated poverty compared to 19 percent for cities. Suburban poverty has also risen in recent years, with suburbs accounting for 48 percent of the increase in the national poverty rate from 2000 to 2015.