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Rio De Janeiro is a bustling metropolis in a booming country–and, increasingly, an example of how government and business leaders can cooperate to make cities work better. Join the live blog today for a second day of coverage of speeches, panels and hallway discussions.


Here’s Ginni Rometty, IBM’s senior vice president for Sales, Marketing and Strategy (and IBM’s next CEO) talking about how to build a smarter city.

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9:00 a.m. Special Address: Economic Recovery, Urbanization and The City, by Alfonso Vegara Gómez, President, Fundación Metrópoli.

Cities have transformed themselves with such intensity. The challenge of the 21st Century is to build a better urban environment.

“We can’t build cities in the conventional way. We would destroy the planet.” We have to use smart technologies and ideas to build cities in a sustainable way, and a way that provides jobs and economic growth.

In the future there will be super cities and mega metropolitan areas. Between Washington DC and Boston, for instance. We’ll need new transportation systems. The cities in the corridor will share talents.The same in Europe: From Lisbon to Madrid; ultimately you’ll get a huge cluster of connected cities in Europe. “This is the new scale in which you can compete.”

Some exampled of smart cities: Singapore, the new city state. They bet on a port economy. They have smart transportation. They attract talent focusing on IT, media and bio-med. In compact urban spaces they have combined expertise and creativity.

Bilbao, Spain. It integrated all of the systems. It integrated art with urban architecture. Bilbao hasn’t been successful in attracting talent. This will be a big challenge. It has to compete with other cities in a knowledge economy.

The challenge is to build a new urban development park, which will include all of the modern elements: architecture, art, communications, and improved infrastructure.


9:30 a.m. A Conversation with: Pablo Allard, Decano de Arquitectura y Arte de la UDD y Asesor Senior de Reconstrucción Urbana; Dr. Néstor Bercovich, Coordinador ECLAC, Plan Regional para la Sociedad de la Información de América Latina y el Caribe ECLAC; and Wilson Ferreira Junior., President, CPFL Energia.

Bercovich: We need to rethink the state so we can rise to the challenges of urbanization. A wide variety of stakeholders need to cooperate and innovate.

The free market has created distortions in the social fabric of cities. There’s a huge disparity in wealth and services. This needs to be addressed.

Smarter platforms are the base from which we make the systems of cities and regions work better. For instance, broadband needs to be made available widely and affordably.

Allard: Urban centers, if they’re smarter, can begin to address some of the inequities. They can be a source of economic opportunity for the people of the favelas.

In the future the rate of population growth will go down, and that will make it possible for personal income to come up. Latin American cities will get wealthier and offer new opportunities. “We will have a population that demands a better quality of life.”

“Favelas are full of small entrepreneurs who will make the most of the opportunities that are offered to them.” Little by little, they’ll reach the middle class.

But we need smarter systems in the cities to make this possible.

The context:

Pablo Allard, dean of architecture and art, Desarrollo University, Chile, talks about why he’s “addicted to smarter cities.”

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10:30 a.m. Special Address: Smart Investments in Cities: Managing for the Long-Term, by Luciano Coutinho, president, The Brazilian Development Bank.

The quality of life in cities and the city ecosystem constitute key factor in innovation going forward. Traditionally we saw that innovation was is driven by three pillars: big private companies, government subsidies and universities. But that’s the old paradigm. Now there are additional factors: cities, NGOs and society.

If we can make cities more efficient we can increase their creative output. A smart city doesn’t just need to be efficient. It needs to have quality of life and creativity. “A city is an ecosystem that encourages innovation and creativity.”

Technological progress will increase in the coming years. Mobile computing is going to be an important factor. Broadband access is increasing greatly. We need to deploy sensors, and large scale databases.

All of this makes information about what’s going on in the city and how it’s working widely available to everybody.

“The city is becoming a new thing.”

In Latin America and Brazil, cities are a bigger factor than they are in other areas of the world. We have 34 cities in Brazil with 45% of the population, and Rio and Sao Paulo have 25% of the GDP of the country. “We need to reinforce the mid-tier cities and prevent them from falling into the same traps as the mega cities, with their traffic and pollution problems.”

We’re at a critical moment in Brazil. We must have a high level of performance and competitiveness. Our public services must be more efficient and more creative.


11:00 a.m. A Conversation with: James W. Breyer, partner, Accel Partners, Luciano Coutinho, president, The Brazilian Development Bank, and Marcelo Haddad, executive director, Rio Negócios. Discussion leader: Marcus Regueira, founding partner, FIR Capital.

Breyer: I’m interested in investing in Brazil. We think through the cultural attributes of great entrepreneurs. Is there a common characteristic?

“The people we like to back have passion, think about long term impact and think about building high impact team from the beginning.”

We’ve seen many of these characteristics in Brazil. We see entrepreneurs building strong teams of co-founders. Every location is a little different. In Silicon Valley today we’re finding very young breakthrough technologists. When I first met Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook I took him out to dinner and I offered him a glass of wine, but he said he was not yet 21. He’d have a Sprite.

Brazil will be one of our three most important countries for investments in the coming years.

Coutinho: In Brazil, we need to create an ecosystem for entrepreneurship. The Brazilian capital markets are still a step behind. “We need to create an atmosphere for entrepreneurship by young people. That’s vital to creating smarter cities.”

Regueira; What we need for venture capital to take off in Brazil is a quarter of a billion dollar exit.

Breyer: The city and country have to minimize the difficulties for young people to get going. One thing we have lost in the US is the idea of allowing small businesses to thrive without uncertainty and significant regulatory overhang.

You need a partnership between great entrepreneurs, people who come in early to help them scale the company—without losing the entrepreneurial spirit, and also partnerships with large and important companies.

“The first trillion dollar valuation company could come from Brazil.”

Here’s the video of the panel:


11:30 a.m. Special Address: How to Build a Smarter City, by Ginni Rometty, IBM’s senior vice president of sales, marketing and strategy—and next CEO.

“Brazil is a country full of natural resources. We think of information as the world’s next important national resource.”

We’re heard a lot about why people should build smarter cities. My focus today is on how.

So how does a city actually get started? Over the last year or so, we’ve reviewed thousands of Smart City initiatives. We’ve identified three common steps that are taken in successful projects.

–By instrumenting different city systems, the city can leverage data as a strategic tool to understand the performance of those systems, and be in a position to managing them better–responding to changes in those systems more rapidly and effectively.

–Once a city has developed that solid foundation, they can start to think about integrating key processes within and across systems.  You can take the data and use it across departments and functions.

–Cities can start to optimize their systems and transform service delivery. Analytics become key here. “You can start to re-imagine the art of the possible.” It’s not just about using analytics to examine the past, but to predict the future.

Value goes up with each of these three steps.

We have also identified key leadership skills for Smarter cities.

–The complexity of cities requires us to understand the city as a system-of-systems and manage it accordingly.

–“We need to build a culture of analytics versus gut-check decision making.”

–Managing and coordinating across city systems will require all city leaders to collaborate with one another, with local business leaders, and other influencers in new ways.

I hope that we’ve been able to provide some guiding principles here that we’ve learned from hundreds of Smarter City engagements, and that have opened our eyes as to what it takes for cities to be successful.


Noon: A Conversation with: Jorge Gerdau Johannpeter, chairman of Gerdau, Gerdau Steel, and a private sector leader in Brazil’s economic development; and Kenneth Schwartz, dean, School of Architecture, Tulane University. Discussion Leader: Ginni Rometty, IBM’s senior vice president for sales, marketing and strategy, and the next CEO.

Schwartz: Tulane was impacted by Hurricane Katrina. We had to shut it down for months.  Now we’re back and the city of New Orleans is back. We’re both building more sustainably and smarter.

We’re using the school of architecture and technology from IBM to see if we can achieve significant carbon use. We’ll take what we learn to other buildings on the campus.

Instrumentation was relatively easy. Integration was harder. We had to get our school, IT and facilities to work together.

“We think of buildings as the building blocks of cities.” You can experiment in buildings and a university campus and then model solutions that you can use city wide.

Gerdau: We started a movement to build the economy of Brazil based on using management technologies.

The public sector is inefficient.

“What decides a country’s wealth today is its management competency.”

Cities have to be build and rebuilt by seeing them as an integrated unit. Technology is important for gathering information, but it’s not enough.

You need to do management with efficient technology. But it only works when your have good governance aligned with strategy.

Political will is perhaps the biggest challenge. I like to talk to government leaders. I feel there’s lack of policy. We have to transform cities. It requires the kind of strategic thinking I don’t see now.

We have to get our communities involved so they see this is the way forward. Maybe it’s in our education. Time is being wasted. How can we harness all of this?

“We have to change culture.”


12:15 p.m. Key Observations from Sam Palmisano, IBM’s CEO.

We operate in 170 countries and every political system. All societies are going through a transition. The same goes with companies. You can be optimistic or see it as concerning. How do some do it better than others?

Your have to re-prioritize. You have to take things that were done one way in the past and come up with new approaches.

Mayor Paes of Rio surrounded himself with professional managers. “Good management is the key to getting things done.”


Breakout session

Emergency Management: Learning from the Leaders

Moderator: Guru Banavar, CTO, Global Public Sector, IBM; Pedro Almeida, Director, Smarter Cities Strategy, IBM Brazil; Pablo Allard, Dean of Architecture and Art, Desarrollo University; Carlos Roberto Osorio, secretary for Conservation & Public Service, City of Rio de Janeiro; and Pablo Escudero, general director, Madrid Police Department

Banavar: There’s an impression that more disasters are happening. Part of it is that because of modern communications, we know more about what’s happening. But it’s true for floods, perhaps caused by global warming. There are also man-made disasters, such as nuclear disasters. These kinds of massive events require a long term planning, preparedness and response system.

Factoid: $265 billion total global economic losses due to natural disasters in the first half of 2011.

We can do a lot to prevent these kinds of losses.

We’ll look at four types of events: natural disasters, terrorism, industrial accidents and large-scale events like protests and riots, but also the World Cup and the Olympics.

The density of communities in coastal communities has  been increasing, and those populations are the most vulnerable

Four stages for managing disasters: Mitigation, such as building codes; short-term preparedness, responding to warnings; response with full situational awareness of what’s happening; recovery and long term rehabilitation.


Breakout session

Emergency Management: Learning from the Leaders
Second installment

Moderator: Guru Banavar, CTO, Global Public Sector, IBM; Pedro Almeida, Director, Smarter Cities Strategy, IBM Brazil; Pablo Allard, Dean of Architecture and Art, Desarrollo University; Carlos Roberto Osorio, secretary for Conservation & Public Service, City of Rio de Janeiro; and Pablo Escudero, general director, Madrid Police Department

Osorio: We have two major challenges in Rio. We have a history of natural disasters mainly caused by heavy rains and flooding and mudslides, and we have a history of dealing with large scale events.

We were very poorly prepared to face natural disasters.

Every five or six years on average we have a major natural event, but we have flooding every year. We have had two big events in the past two years. It seems to be a pattern. It could be global warming.

In the past we’d say it’s god’s will. We just reacted.

The city decided to approach the situation head on. We felt it was our obligation to meet the challenge in a different way.

They mayor who is 42 started his political life as deputy mayor in part of the city. He was in charge of the region when it had a disaster about 14 years ago.

When he became mayor, he was the emergency response plans and felt it wasn’t enough. Early 2009. He ordered a study.

We had a major disaster–incredible rain. More than 70 people died here. We used the plan to some extent, but not enough

We decided to have an emergency response center but later decided to make a city operations center to handle a wide variety of situations.

We had an organization with many fiefdoms, but, in order to respond to disasters, you have to cooperate. They mayor made people work together.

So we have become much more agile.

We’re facing big events coming to Rio, including the World Cup and Olympics. They’re a big challenge for us. They’re big and complex events. The operation center is a major tool to enable our preparations and response.

This year, we had the Rock in Rio festival with 700,000 people. The last edition was 2001 and was a total disaster. Nobody could move in the area. But this year the operational part worked well. We reacted very quickly, and the operations center was instrumental. We think we’ll be ready for what’s coming.


Breakout session

Emergency Management: Learning from the Leaders
Installment 3

Moderator: Guru Banavar, CTO, Global Public Sector, IBM; Pedro Almeida, Director, Smarter Cities Strategy, IBM Brazil; Pablo Allard, Dean of Architecture and Art, Desarrollo University, Chile; Carlos Roberto Osorio, secretary for Conservation & Public Service, City of Rio de Janeiro; and Pablo Escudero, general director, Madrid Police Department

Allard: In Chile we had the large earthquake and tsunami, and it was also widely dispersed. We had more than 700 kilometers of land affected. The disaster affected the three main metro areas in Chile and many smaller cities. Five major highways were broken. Many buildings fell—even some built in the past few years. More than 500 people died. 370,000 houses were destroyed or damaged.

The neighboring communities had to come and help the ones that were affected.

First response, lasted 33 days. It was coordinated by the emergency ministry.

Reconstruction is expected to take four years.

I worked on the reconstruction.

We opened a voluntary record for families that had suffered damage. This helped us relocate them. They received vouchers.

We arranged for houses to be rebuilt by private companies. These projects were subsidized.

Six months after the catastrophe we had 60,000 emergency houses built, where people could stay while their permanent houses were built.

It was a huge management challenge. We had to track people’s identity and map it to their location and what was being done for them.

We invited companies to present different kind of building systems. We had a fair where the families could go and chose the type of house.

We had voting by the people to chose the best designs. The winners started quickly.

But we also wanted to use the rebuilding to create smart options. We studied the risks in locations by the coast.

For places that were especially vulnerable, we designed the houses to be resilient to quakes and tsunamis.

By this September we had more than 60,000 houses built and more than 200,000 under construction. We expect to have all the houses built in February 2014.


–Be prepared for the worst case scenario.

–Manage the expectations of the people after the disaster.

–Communicate complexity and time frame.

–Reinforce local capacity and leadership.

Here’s Allard talking about why he’s a “smarter cities addict.”

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Emergency Management: Learning from the Leaders
Installment 4

Moderator: Guru Banavar, CTO, Global Public Sector, IBM; Pedro Almeida, Director, Smarter Cities Strategy, IBM Brazil; Pablo Allard, dean of Architecture and Art, Desarrollo University, Chile; Carlos Roberto Osorio, secretary for Conservation & Public Service, City of Rio de Janeiro; and Pablo Escudero, general director, Madrid Police Department.

Escudero: We created an emergency response system in 2006 that turned into a crime fighting system as well.

Here’s a look at Madrid’s emergency management system:

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