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Cities have more ways than ever to employ technology to develop solutions for situations that typically present challenges. How to become a “smart city” in order to take advantage of these resources was among the issues discussed at the webinar Smart Cities, Smart Buildings, Data Security and Privacy, and Leasing of 5G Sites, presented by Gregory Rapisarda, Esq., Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, LLP; Bill Jorch of the Maryland Municipal League; and Dan Mapes, Founder of Verses. The webinar, which was moderated by Morenike Oyenusi, Esq., Senior Assistant County Solicitor, Howard County Office of Law and Lin Pang, Esq., DLA Piper, was part of the MSBA Real Property Group’s presentation of the Advanced Real Property Institute during the MSBA’s Legal Excellence Week.

Faculty discussed the ways in which smart cities can use technology to address municipal issues. For example, cities can use smart trash containers that provide digital rebates to people who deposit recyclable materials to help manage waste and incentivize recycling. Cities can also use technology to help motorists reduce travel time by constructing multiple driving routes based on information collected from mobile maps and determining the quickest path to a destination based on traffic data. Data can also be of great benefit to parties involved in urban planning and land-use optimization, allowing them to develop virtual replicas of a building or city to identify and address any potential issues before they become realities. 

There was also a discussion of the prerequisites for becoming a smart city. For example, smart cities need to have broad digitization, interoperable systems, and the new spatial web, which is a computing environment that blends virtual and actual realities. Smart cities also need smart buildings that can use technology to regulate and control their systems, monitor activity, and learn occupant preferences. The panel discussed the risks associated with the technology used to develop smart buildings and smart cities as well, such as the potential for security breaches and attacks from siegeware and ransomware. Finally, the speakers analyzed privacy and data security laws that have developed throughout the country in response to threats that arise with technological advances and the interplay of legislation, technology, and individual rights.

In addition to discussing issues pertaining to smart cities, the panel provided an overview of policy and legal issues associated with the leasing of 5G sites throughout Maryland. First, they addressed the priorities of municipalities dealing with the installation of small-cell 5G infrastructure in public spaces. The main focus of local governments is to evaluate who is accessing public property and for what purposes, to protect the safety of residents. It is also important for municipalities to develop a sound vetting process for proposals for any infrastructure placed in a public right of way. Finally, cities typically concentrate on the appearance and impression of the proposed infrastructures and whether they will correspond with the look and feel of the communities in which they will be placed. In order to uphold their objectives, it is prudent for municipalities to develop ordinances addressing requirements for setting infrastructures in public rights of way and to publish standards regarding aesthetics.

The discussion also addressed the real estate issues associated with 5G leasing, such as the goals of the parties involved, the agreements needed, and the type of equipment required to support a 5G system. The presentation ended with a question and answer session that addressed scenarios in which a commercial property owner could enter into a leasing agreement with a 5G carrier, how parties can develop mutually agreeable leasing terms through negotiations, and how governments can prepare in advance for the deployment of 5G.

You can view the webinar on demand here.