The concept of Smart Cities offers the promise of urban hubs leveraging connected technologies to become increasingly prosperous, safe, healthy, resilient, and clean. What may not be obvious in achieving these objectives is that many already-existing utility assets can serve as the foundation for a Smart City transition. The following is a broad discussion on the areas of overlap between utilities and smart cities, highlighting working knowledge from experience at PG&E.
Tech and sustainability leaders convene in Richmond, CA
For immediate release:
When: October 20-22, 2015
Where: The Craneway Pavilion, 1414 Harbor Way South, Richmond, CA 94804
What: Meeting of the Minds is an annual, global leadership summit focused on the intersection of urban sustainability and connected technology. The conference is vital to accelerating the emergence of smart and sustainable cities around the globe.
Meeting of the Minds brings together select leaders from the world’s most innovative organizations to explore strategic investments, smart policies and breakthrough technological innovations – all designed to enable cities and regions to better respond to increasingly complex urban planning, design, technology and development challenges.
More info: CityMinded.org/events/motm2015
On-Site Announcements and Demos:
- The new Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle will be on display and available for Ride & Drives for the first time during its official launch week.
- Richmond’s first ever Hackathon: Hear from the top three Meeting of the Minds 2015 Civic and Industrial Hackathon teams and be there when the winners are announced; $5,000 cash prize for the top Civic team provided by Qualcomm; $5,000 grant provided by AT&T to a local Richmond non-profit to be announced on stage
- Be the first to see real-time monitoring and management of solar photovoltaic generation using Itron’s newest application for the ITRON RIVA(™) platform — the Itron Solar Gate prototype – at DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Labs’ FLEXLAB.
More than 400 global innovators, including government officials, corporate executives, and foundation/NGO leaders from 25 countries will gather in Richmond to discuss and launch new initiatives, while exploring answers to the following questions.
- What technology innovations are making ‘smart cities’ a reality?
- What can the Global North learn from the success of BRT in the Global South?
- What is the future of the autonomous vehicle?
- What policies are city leaders adopting to make their communities more equitable and inclusive?
- How do cities prepare for severe weather, climate change, and sea level rise?
- What new financing models exist?
- How do we prepare the next urban workforce?
- How are urban systems being reinvented by young start-ups?
- What cross-sector bridges are being built to accelerate the move toward sustainable, connected and just cities?
A sampling of sessions include:
- Local Answers for Under-Resourced Cities – The Future of Partnerships, Pro Bono and Service-Based Innovation
- Sharing the Road: BRT & Global South Urban Mobility
- Are We There Yet? Getting Farther Down the Road to the Smart City
- The Water and Drought Crisis: Learning from Abroad
- Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding 2.0: Reinventing Urban Systems
The full Meeting schedule is outlined at: CityMinded.org/agenda
Who: The following is a sample of the 75 global leaders who will present a “rethinking” of the economic, social and technological developments that are shaping our urban future:
- Rosalind Grymes, Deputy Director, NASA Ames Partnerships Directorate
- Rip Rapson, President, The Kresge Foundation
- Letícia Osorio, Human Rights Programme Officer, The Ford Foundation (Brazil)
- Juan Carlos Muñoz, Director of the Department of Transport Engineering and Logistics, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (Santiago)
- Rosetta Carrington Lue, Chief Customer Service Officer, City of Philadelphia
Confirmed speakers are listed at: CityMinded.org/speakers
Additional Background: The program’s organizer is Urban Age Institute, a 501c(3) non-profit based in San Francisco. Urban Age Institute partners with renowned, high-impact non-profit institutions to develop the program.
Sponsors include: Presenting sponsor is Toyota, Cisco, the Barr Foundation, RBC Capital Markets, the Barr Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, Itron, Wells Fargo, Black & Veatch, Microsoft, Blossman Gas, Volvo Research and Educational Foundation, Qualcomm, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, CBRE Group, Inc., Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Oracle Primavera, AT&T, Zipcar, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, the Downtown Berkeley Association, the City of Berkeley Office of Economic Development, Marin Clean Energy, Lyft, Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, Noll & Tam Architects, Cubic Transportation Systems, and Deloitte.
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Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology
When the idea of smart cities was born, some ten to fifteen years ago, engineers, including me, saw it primarily as a control system problem with the goal of improving efficiency, specifically the sustainability of the city. Indeed, the source of much of the early technology was the process industry, which was a pioneer in applying intelligent control to chemical plants, oil refineries, and power stations. Such plants superficially resemble cities: spatial scales from meters to kilometers, temporal scales from seconds to days, similar scales of energy and material inputs, and thousands of sensing and control points.
So it seemed quite natural to extend such sophisticated control systems to the management of cities. The ability to collect vast amounts of data – even in those pre-smart phone days – about what goes on in cities and to apply analytics to past, present, and future states of the city seemed to offer significant opportunities for improving efficiency and resilience. Moreover, unlike tightly-integrated process plants, cities seemed to decompose naturally into relatively independent sub-systems: transportation, building management, water supply, electricity supply, waste management, and so forth. Smart meters for electricity, gas, and water were being installed. GPS devices were being imbedded in vehicles and mobile telephones. Building controls were gaining intelligence. Cities were a major source for Big Data. With all this information available, what could go wrong?
If you want a healthier community, you don’t just treat illness. You prevent it. And you don’t prevent it by telling people to quit smoking, eat right and exercise. You help them find jobs and places to live and engaging schools so they can pass all that good on, so they can build solid futures and healthy neighborhoods and communities filled with hope.