Back in June, we at IBM hosted our first large Smarter Cities summit, convening leaders across Europe from the private and public sectors in Berlin to discuss the most pressing issues facing our cities. We heard from mayors, governors and CEOs about how they were charting a smarter future for their cities.
Tomorrow, in collaboration with the Partnership for New York City and the City University of New York, we bring the Smarter Cities Summit to New York City. It’s hard to think of a more appropriate place to explore the opportunities and issues facing the rapid urbanization of society than New York. Consider the following:
- Largest mass transit system in the world
- $60 billion budget
- 330,000 city employees
- 1.19 million students, 90,000 teachers, 1,500 schools
- 40,000 police officers; 14,000 firefighters
- 14 million 911 calls each year
- Largest airline system in the United States
- Second largest city economy in the world (after Tokyo)
Few places are better at seeing the stark challenges and dramatic opportunities for smarter urbanization than in New York City. But this session isn’t really about making New York City smarter. It’s about every city smarter. With that in mind, we are convening mayors, governors, public officials, CEOs, academics and policy makers from across North and South America for working sessions focused on progress in our cities. From the ibm.com description:
Hosted by IBM Chairman and CEO Samuel J. Palmisano, our SmarterCities NYC forum will continue the conversation started in Berlin in June to explore new approaches to regional partnership, identify roadblocks, evaluate frameworks for investment and review the tools that are helping our cities meet 21st century realities. …
As leaders, we all have a vital stake in ensuring that our cities become more resilient, more sustainable and more secure. Indeed, the health of our planet and of society depends on it. Let’s start shaping that future.
Sadly, there aren’t seats to accommodate the world to join us in person. But, thanks to Twitter and this blog, you can join us on this progression. Once the Summit begins around 2 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time, we’ll begin featuring the live #smartercity Twitter stream coming out of the event. As you follow that through the day and into Friday, our hope is you’ll get an idea of some of the ideas, topics and issues being raised in the sessions. Be sure to share your ideas too -the #smartercity feed will be broadcast inside the event for participants to follow along as well.
And keep coming to this blog for a great deal of in-depth commentary and insights synthesizing the ideas from the event itself from many of our smartest urban thinkers.
Finally, the heart of the smarter cities concept is the thinking that a city is really a complex system made up of many other complex, highly interconnected systems. The traffic systems impact energy systems, which impact environmental systems, which impact public health systems and so forth. But can’t lose sight that cities are comprised of individual people. We are the blood that flows through the veins of those systems, with our own perspectives and personal relationships to each facet of a city. Chris Luongo, a colleague at IBM, created the following artistic vignette to illustrate the unique ways these systems come together in the context of a city like New York to form a personal identity. There’s no narration. Just watch, enjoy and think about how the city comes together for you. Share your thoughts as part of the #smartercity conversation.