News Release

City of Holyoke, Mass., and Cisco Collaborate on Urban Renewal With Smart+Connected Communities Vision

Project to Establish Vibrant 21st Century Neighborhood Aims To Create Economic Opportunity, Improve Education and Retain Residents
Feb 10, 2010

HOLYOKE, Mass. - Feb 10, 2010 - Cisco today announced that it is collaborating with the city of Holyoke, Mass., to establish a cooperative relationship that advances the city's community vision for revitalization and stability.  Faced with familiar urban planning challenges such as unemployment, population loss in the town center to rapid growth in Holyoke suburban neighborhoods, and delivery of services to a moving population, the city of Holyoke is taking an innovative approach in investigating the positive effect that an Internet-based, connected community model can play in helping to revitalize the local economy.

By working collaboratively toward a common vision of Smart+Connected Communities, the city and Cisco intend to use technology to deliver urban services in a different way in order to generate new economic opportunity, to improve the delivery and quality of education, and bolster population retention.  To meet this shared goal, Cisco and Holyoke intend to carry out planning and related activities to select a central downtown district as a pilot project that will be  modernized with the latest network solutions within a proposed flagship innovation district.  The process aims to define a new model for providing citizens with critical urban services such as education, healthcare, and improved access to local and state government.

The initial pilot is expected to provide a localized blueprint for redevelopment that can be progressively rolled out across all of Holyoke's neighborhoods, with the aim of spurring long-term economic, social and environmental sustainability within the entire city.  As a result, citizens are expected to enjoy a more collaborative environment, one that fosters their involvement in reaching the community's goals for transformation and connectivity.


  • Cisco's Smart+Connected Communities initiative will integrate into Holyoke's Center City Vision Plan (CCVP), which sets a framework for revitalization and sustainability in the city, with the goal of generating economic opportunity, improving the delivery and quality of education, bolstering population retention, and improving healthcare access. 
  • Today's memorandum of understanding establishes Holyoke as the first city to pilot a model 21st century neighborhood within the United States, based on Cisco's services-led vision of Smart+Connected Communities.
  • Holyoke is also focusing efforts on developing a new transportation hub and is investigating the potential for multi-use buildings to improve services in areas such as education, healthcare and support for micro-businesses.
  • The renewal architecture created in the pilot is intended to serve as a proof of concept for other cities and economic regions in Massachusetts and beyond that are seeking to adopt similar development plans.
  • The Cisco® Smart+Connected Communities initiative is designed to provide cities and communities with smart and connected solutions for utilities, safety and security, connected real estate, transportation, healthcare, learning, sports venues, and government services.  By providing a network-enabled blueprint for successful 'smart' cities of the future, Smart+Connected Communities solutions help transform physical communities into connected communities that can help realize sustainable economic growth and GDP, enable environmental sustainability through resource management and operational efficiencies, and enhance quality of life for residents.
  • Cisco is a key participant in the effort to establish a world-class, high-performance computing center in Holyoke, working with Gov. Deval Patrick, Holyoke officials, and leaders from MIT, the University of Massachusetts, Boston University, and other academic institutions across New England.
  • Cisco and its business partners are already helping communities that are seeking to improve the quality of life, sustainability and economic value through technology, from major regional efforts such as OneCommunity in Cleveland, through the proposed renewal of large regions of cities such as the Toronto Waterfront being revitalized by Waterfront Toronto and Hunters' Point in San Francisco.
  • Cisco is a significant member of the Massachusetts high-tech community, with more than 1,900 employees based in offices in Boxborough, Tewksbury, and Boston.  In December 2009 Cisco acquired Massachusetts-based Starent Networks, a leader in mobile Internet products and solutions, further increasing Cisco's presence in the region.
  • Holyoke's existing commitment to develop leadership capabilities in the application and development of next-generation computing technologies and in researching clean cost-competitive energy made the city a natural choice to base an innovative project of this nature.

Supporting Quotes

  • Elaine A. Pluta, Mayor, city of Holyoke, Mass.
  • "The city of Holyoke has a deep history in innovation and is dedicated to the success and well-being of its residents. In working with Cisco to implement next-generation solutions, Holyoke will be well equipped with the tools necessary to build a more collaborative, modern and culturally rich environment for work and play. We view the joint initiative with Cisco as a way of giving back to our citizens and ensuring that future generations can also enjoy a thriving and sustaining community that they are proud to call home."

  • Wim Elfrink, Chief Globalisation Officer and Executive Vice President, Cisco Services
  • "Cisco's vision for Smart+Connected Communities is to transform physical communities into connected communities that run on networked information to help drive broad economic, social and environmental sustainability. We are honored to collaborate with Mayor Pluta and the city of Holyoke to establish the 21st century neighborhood as an inspirational model for cities seeking to transform themselves through revitalization. We share a common vision to use the network as the platform to create a more collaborative and sustainable environment for the citizens of Holyoke."

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