Getting Smarter with Smart Cities

Smart cities can improve many aspects of the quality of life such as safety, cost of living, jobs, environmental impact, and health.

By 2050, 68% of the global population is expected to live in cities, a 13% increase from the current 55%. With this influx, our cities need to adapt and grow to increase their capacity. 

Enter smart cities. Smart technologies are digitally transforming cities to improve the environmental, financial, and social aspects of urban life. They use technology such as advanced public transit, smart trash collection, officer wearables, next-gen emergency technology and more to allow cities to function more efficiently and effectively. For a city to be truly smart, three layers must be in place as described in McKinsey’s report Smart cities: Digital solutions for a more livable future. The first is the technology itself, including sensors and smartphones connected through networks. The second layer is where data is translated into alerts, insight and action plans through applications and other tools. Finally, cities, organizations and citizens must change their behavior and take action on this information to complete the third layer.

In the United States, New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago are leading the way. The New York government has focused on smart water, waste and electric lighting management to reduce the city’s environmental impact. Boston is using technology to encourage citizens to increase community involvement through a collection of apps. In San Francisco, apps are being used to create smarter parking management and the city has taken steps to improve the way the city handles its data. Chicago is engaging the community to co-create smart city solutions in an effort to make a more livable city. Cities of all sizes are following along. In December 2015, U.S. Department of Transportation launched their Smart City Challenge with 78 applicant cities sharing their challenges and how to solve them. 

On October 11, join Tucson mayor Jonathon Rothschild and three former mayors Tom Murphy of Pittsburg, Mick Cornett of Oklahoma City and Frances Slay of St. Louis for a conversation about what it takes to build communities ready for the 21st century. This innovative and experienced panel of mayors will engage in a conversation you won’t want to miss.

Mayor Murphy, recipient of the Stafford Award for his work in sustainable development and scenic preservation, initiated a public/private strategy that leveraged more that  $4.5 billion in economic development. 

Oklahoma City Mayor Cornett was called one of the “five most innovative mayors in the United States” by Newsweek. During his time as mayor, he was able to bring the NBA to Oklahoma City and led investment of nearly $2 billion in schools and infrastructure to improve the city’s quality of life.

During Mayor Slay’s 16 years in office, downtown St. Louis was revitalized with new projects like Busch Stadium and renovations of historic buildings. Under Mayor Slay’s direction, St. Louis launched its first Sustainability Plan and became a more progressive city through a recycling program, a smoking ban, and extended workforce diversity goals. 

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