Building the sustainable, resilient cities of the future at this year’s Smart City Expo Miami 

By Riley Kaminer

The fourth annual edition of Smart City Expo Miami, which took place last week at the Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus, made it clear that Miami continues to be a hub for climate and urban tech innovation. The expo brought around 50 innovators, operators, and public servants to give presentations on how we as a community (including hundreds of participants in-person and online) can co-create smarter, more sustainable cities.

“Our planet is asking for change, and that’s why we’re bringing the top leaders in innovation together to find a path to a sustainable future,” proclaimed Bernardo Scheinkman, the CEO of Smart City Americas and curator of Smart City Expo Miami.

A focus on collaboration and innovation

A key theme across all presentations and panel discussions this year was the power of collaboration and innovation to make our cities greener, more resilient, and more equitable. 

“Smart cities don’t happen by accident,” asserted Dr. Beatriz Gonzalez, President of the Wolfson Campus at Miami Dade College, during her keynote speech on innovation and education. She underscored the need for city governments, local businesses, and citizens to co-create the cities that they want to live and work in.

Bianya Bogosian, Professor of Architectural Technology at the FIU School of Architecture, echoed the importance of education. She accomplishes this education through her Mixed Reality experience, “In Deep Water,” which acts as an interactive storytelling experience that engages visitors with real-time and historical water quality data. Equally, UM professor Sarbeswar Praharaj shared his work at the Climate Resilience Academy, which aims to upskill workers to tackle future sustainability and resilience challenges.

Raimundo Rodulfo, the CIO of the City of Coral Gables, presented a keynote presentation in which he highlighted the importance of partnerships across various sectors, including industry, government, academia, and nonprofits, in generating innovation. Rodulfo’s case in point was the AI-powered modular poles that Coral Gables has installed – showing just how far collaboration, partnership, and research can get you.  

To acknowledge local and international changemakers, Smart City Expo Miami also gave six awards. FIU’s Ebru Özer, Sara Pezeshk, and Biayna Bogosian won its Nature Base Solution, Sustainable Generative Design, and Sustainable Environmental Action awards, respectively. Raimundo Rodulfo and his team at the City of Coral Gables won the Sustainable Technology award, while the award for Sustainable Meteorologist Author went to Bonnie Schneider.

To acknowledge local and international changemakers, Smart City Expo Miami also gave six awards including Sustainable Innovation, Sustainable Technology, and Sustainable Environmental Action.

The power of tech to tackle environmental challenges

A recurring theme throughout the conference was the idea of how technology can help us achieve our climate goals more effectively. 

Israeli entrepreneur Inna Braverman, the co-founder and CEO of Eco Wave Power [pictured above], told attendees the captivating tale of how she escaped a near-death experience caused by the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe before eventually landing in the startup world. Eco Wave Power has developed the tools to harness wave energy, offering a cleaner and more sustainable energy source that doesn’t pose the same threats as nuclear power. “Passion is the greatest renewable energy source,” Braverman asserted.

Anatolii Vovniuk, Deputy Chief Innovation Officer of Kyiv, Ukraine, presented the Kyiv Digital app, which has provided citizens with a range of services, from early awareness notifications of air raids to e-democracy initiatives.

The conference ended with an AI Summit for Mayors at the AI Center at Miami Data College, which discussed the potential for Artificial Intelligence to shape and better the future of urban living. Public sector officials and technologists shared and debated their ideas for leveraging technology to help solve public sector problems, better prepare us for inclement weather, and enhance government operations.


The photo of Eco Wave Power founder Inna Braverman is by Tere Garcia.


Riley Kaminer