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A Tale of Two Cities Pursuing One Common Vision: The story of how urban economics, urban energy, urban environment get greener, cleaner, smarter because they’re better connected (Part 1)

Two events on the North American west coast, set apart by two days, each helped to set the tone for this year’s big debate about the future of cities.

Where exactly is the big debate, you might ask? Looking at the Presidential election season The New York Times Op-Ed columnist, Tom Friedman, bemoaned in early January, the fact that he just doesn’t “remember any candidate being asked in those really entertaining G.O.P. debates, ‘How do you think smart cities can become the job engines of the future, and what is your plan to ensure that America has a strategic bandwidth advantage?’”

At IBSG we know some of the most important elements of that alternative future for US cities. And we are engaged in intensive projects with our customers — cities like Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Vancouver — to shape it. Read More »

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Innovation in the 21st Century City

As a global director of the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group’s Urban Innovation team, I’ve seen how broadband connectivity can radically transform urban life, while forcing us to rethink our entire approach to designing and managing cities. I recently had the opportunity to share some of my ideas on the subject at the 2011 World Council of UCLG (United Cities and Local Governments) in Florence, Italy.

The Council represents nearly half the world’s population, from 36 countries and more than 1,000 cities—everywhere from Istanbul and Dakar to Helsinki and New York. In Florence, more than 400 mayors, along with municipal ministers, directors, innovators and other experts, met to discuss the daunting challenges facing today’s cities, while offering solutions in a creative and interactive forum. Topics ranged from transportation, utilities, and infrastructure to tourism and environmental sustainability.

Mayor Matteo Renzi of Florence, the host of the event, has worked with Cisco on innovation initiatives in his city. In addition to helping him plan the conference, I was granted the opportunity to moderate some sessions on urban innovation. Read More »

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