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Cities Must Keep Pace with a Technologically Evolved Population

  |   Cleantech San Diego, Energy Efficiency, Smart Cities San Diego, Smart Grid, The City as a System

How could cities better connect all their residents to economic opportunity? It’s literally the million-dollar question with almost every major tech company spending incredible amounts of resources in the name of connection. The lingo — smart cities, smarter cities, big data, innovation centers, incubators, hives, alternative transport, campus cities, internet of things — these are key phrases used by technology-backed companies trying to connect cities and their respected citizens.

Connection is the magic word that can generate the ideal living area, foster emerging technologies and innovation, escalate quality of life, and in-turn cultivate a culture of success and economic opportunity. First and foremost, let’s look to the cities across the globe that have recognized the issue of connection and have worked toward various solutions. Amsterdam, Oslo, Vancouver, San Francisco, San Diego, Barcelona, Singapore, and London are a few of a long list of cities that have made recent headlines for their “smart” initiatives. These cities, although varying in political leadership, have all leaned forward and successfully teamed up with innovative mayors, governors, and council members who are willing to modify, utilize, and adjust city infrastructure alongside new technologies and the modernization of the private sector.

We all know and understand the idea of a connected city — smart transportation, local business, affordable housing, thriving entertainment, the practicable use of new technologies. The best connected cities are smart cities that utilize big data for the benefit of citizens. Big data receives a bad rap sometimes, but think of it in terms of reducing our carbon footprint, enabling impactful energy efficiency programs, improving labor efficiency, and creating new technology sectors with the overall objective of connecting a city. Big data allows both the private and public sectors to save money on the demand side and invest it back into the city and it’s citizens. If the goal is economic opportunity, we must look to the future and adapt. Statistics clearly show that our future workforce, Millennials, will demand smarter, more connected cities. Bottom line: cities of the future need to be as progressive as their people.

–Josh Harman, Program Manager, CleanTECH San Diego

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