I recently participated in a session at the 6th annual Global Competitiveness Forum, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The overall theme of the event focused on the positive impact of competition on economic and social development around the world. More specifically, I spoke on the emergence of the aerotropolis and the opportunities it presents for the development of cities. As a concept developed by John D. Kasarda and Greg Lindsay in their book “Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next“, an aerotropolis is an urban form whose layout, infrastructure, and economy is centered on an airport, offering its businesses speedy connectivity to suppliers, customers, and enterprise partners worldwide.
Globalization lies at the root of the aerotropolis. Beginning hundreds of years ago, globalization started with the basic premise of transporting physical goods between nations. As we moved into the 1980s, we saw the emergence of global manufacturing. The 1990s then ushered in the growth of global R&D. Over the last five years or so, we have transitioned into what I call the globalization of the corporate brain. We are beginning to think and act globally about our innovation, growth and talent in the corporate space – it’s all about co-creation and talent. As a global community, we have evolved from the pure transportation of physical goods to the transportation of goods and intellect.
Let’s talk a little about why the aerotropolis has gained momentum. Historically, cities have built their airports on the periphery of their borders. The land area, noise and other issues that come with airports have largely been the reasons behind this. However, times have changed, and in today’s (still) goods-based economy, planners are seeing that this layout is not conducive to developing the local economy.
Last Friday I spoke at the Metropolis World Congress in Porto Alegre, Brazil, where leaders from the private sector, public sector and NGOs are gathered together to discuss new models and strategies for architecting and running cities around the world. The delegates to this event include mayors from cities like Porto Alegre, Barcelona, Bogota, Rosario, and others that are taking their cities through major transformations and helping to define successful models for urban innovation and revitalization. Through all of these stories, one theme emerges: the concept of participatory democracy, or how citizens around the world are co-creating solutions with government, that will help solve the challenges facing us this century.
The economic and political events of the last few years and the continued challenging circumstances still facing us today have in many ways contributed to this new paradigm; necessity is the mother of invention. But the initial steps started a few years ago by a handful of cities have borne a larger movement, and one that promises to change the very way in which citizens interact with their communities and live their lives. Just as people started to produce their own content through social media channels, eschewing the passive consumption of information distributed from centralized powers, citizens pursuing active engagement in the public realm will foment a new public system, one in which citizens are the innovators and enablers of public sector services – and the public sector becomes the orchestrator of innovation. And we’re not far off from that concept becoming a reality.
If you have been following the market research summaries and news that I curate for my Broadband Nation Update list, then you will have noticed a common theme in the commentary – the global movement to deploy Next-Generation Networks has accelerated in recent months.
Perhaps the narrative crescendo will peak next week at the ITU Telecom World 2011 event in Geneva, Switzerland. The focal point for the conference is to Connect the World. One of the features of this year’s event is the “National Pavilion” showcase.
Why would a country promote their region’s talent, technology and innovation at the show? It’s intended to help attract international investment, and thereby build upon a local digital economy ecosystem as a foundation to create new jobs.
It is heartening to note that education systems around the world are seriously working towards achieving the goal of helping students excel both academically and as members of society. Yasar University located in Izmir, Turkey is one of the leading education institutions that aims at creating an infrastructure and environment that not only has the capacity to meet future growth but also prepare students for their roles in modern life.
Izmir is a large metropolis with a population of 3.35 million, making it the third most populous city of Turkey. Lying on an advantageous location at the head of a gulf running down in a deep indentation midway on the western Anatolian coast, Izmir is widely regarded as one of the most progressive Turkish cities in terms of its values, lifestyle, modernism, dynamism and gender roles. The city has always been governed by fresh inspirations which stems from the readiness of its citizens to adopt novelties and new projects. A modern, cutting-edge, smart education system being one of them.
The City of Stockholm is one of the most knowledge‑worker intensive cities in the world, and is home to world-leading financial institutions and high‑technology companies. Cisco’s Smart+Connected solutions are helping the City of Stockholm make connected learning access available throughout its schools.
Teachers are able to access the Learning Management System anywhere on school premises over their WLAN and have their own virtual classroom. Students not only benefit from direct access to materials, but also the two-way flow of assignments and feedback. Outside lessons, students are also able to access the Internet and sites such as Facebook and Twitter, which are expected to add new dimensions to learning.