Afternoon: Thematic Sessions (Parallel) - Supported by the Smart+Connected Communities Institute
These interactive sessions focused on applying the delegatesâ€™ collective intelligence to identify crucial components of smart and connected cities: urban design for the built and spatial environment, urban mobility, and sustainable socioeconomic strategies. Key speakers and a moderated discussion at each session captured a broad range of perspectives.
Urban Design and Networked Development
The way people live, work, learn, and play in 21st-century cities is changing. As a result, city designs and developments are becoming increasingly characterized by a people-centric approach toward a networked-built environment differentiated by interaction, collaboration, responsiveness, on-demand uses, and ubiquitous availability of digital technology.
This session engaged participants in a discussion on how people-driven, technologically enhanced city design and development can transform urban life, the experience of "place," and real estate demand. The session explored perspectives on citizen experience, new trends in urban design and impacts on traditional real estate uses, public-private partnerships, and other new operating models.
Sustainable Cities: Challenges and Solutions
Cities account for the majority of the worldâ€™s population. Implementing sustainable practices and technology within cities would have significant mid-term impact on the reduction of CO2 production worldwide. What is stopping the adoption and implementation of sustainable technologies that are readily available?
The short answer: technology is not the issue; business, institutions and/or organizations is the issue. Addressing this requires the removal of barriers and obstacles to make sure that existing technologies and solutions are capable of being fully deployed worldwide.
This session identified and addressed barriers to deployment, including financing, government regulations, data sharing, regulatory frameworks, role of the private sector, public awareness, and more.
Smart and Connected Urban Mobility
Many cities around the world face urban mobility issues such as increased road congestion, wasted time due to traffic delays, and increased energy consumption, resulting in more carbon emissions. As cities grow and change rapidly, motor vehicle use increases and traffic flow varies just as quickly, creating, or worsening, severe problems.
Innovative solutions enabling smart new services based on information and communications technology (ICT) can help cities address these issues by providing alternatives in combination with other solutions. Smart and connected urban mobility will encourage city leaders to rethink the notion of space in general, as people find new connections between physical and virtual places.
Urban mobility challenges were debated and innovative solutions required to achieve smart and connected urban mobility were discussed. Prominent speakers introduced leading global urban mobility innovations in the area of technology platforms, infrastructure, and applications.
Economic Growth in Cities
Cities account for a growing proportion of the worldâ€™s growing population, but, on average, are less carbon-intensive per unit output than rural areas. Cities contain geographic concentrations of people, skills, capital infrastructure, which enables opportunities for knowledge sharing and innovation, and piloting, replicating, and scaling new technologies.
This session explored economic growth in cities based on the perspectives of city leaders and urban planners, and analysis drawn from research on economic and technology strategies currently being planned and deployed. Key hypotheses discussed were 1) how compact connected urbanization can raise both incomes and carbon efficiency relative to rural or suburban development, 2) how low-carbon urban development plans can improve the effectiveness and competitiveness of cities relative to other urban areas, and 3) how networked urban infrastructures can afford greater opportunities for targeted investments with positive long-term effects.
The Social Life of Cities
People and communities are at the heart of the challenge to change the way cities are designed, managed, governed, and renewed. Social perspectives on urban sustainability are often disregarded by investors, policy makers, and city designers and builders.
This session engaged participants in a lively conversation about three distinct yet related dimensions of the social life of cities: social life of work, social innovation in cities, and creative life of cities.
The discussion aimed to demonstrate the importance of the social life of cities and its impact on sustainabilityâ€”and, furthermore, to remind us that people and communities are the heart of our cities.