Globally, around 55% of citizens live in urban areas – a figure which the UN estimates to increase to 68% by 2050. Already, more than 80% of Americans live in urban areas. But how are these cities using technology to improve peoples’ lives? How can communities come together to make urban areas more environmentally friendly and livable?
These are just a few of the core questions that will be explored at the upcoming Smart City Expo Miami, a climate tech event that will take place virtually from December 8th to 10th. 3,300 people from 60 countries tuned in to last year’s event, and event organizers expect this year’s attendance to surpass 5,000 people from 85 countries.
The Expo will offer a platform for leading smart city innovators to present and discuss their ideas, sharing best practices while forging international bonds. But equally, the South Florida community is at the core of the event, with Miami as the focal point of these global conversations.
Architect and urban planner Bernardo Scheinkman, who is the event’s curator and CEO of Smart Cities Americas, calls this collaboration the C-Movement. “We invite citizens, communities, and cities to participate in the planning and implementation of actions to meet the core functions of their cities: livability, workability, and sustainability,” he told Refresh Miami.
Scheinkman called this event a “disruptive, diversified, and dynamic 3D live experience” that is not just for urban planners and city managers – although these experts have a lot to gain by attending the event. Rather, the event has something for everyone: from technologists and business executives to academics and even children. For Scheinkman this collaborative environment is key to making real progress: “A city is smart if its citizens are smart.”
And Miami certainly has no lack of smart citizens. Top of the list might be the recently-reelected mayor of the City of Miami, Francis Suarez, who will kick off the event with an opening keynote speech. In a letter to attendees, he called Smart City Expo Miami “a unique program that promotes social innovation, establishes partnerships, and identifies business opportunities in an effort to create better futures for cities and citizens worldwide.”
Other speakers include a roster of high-profile figures from the global smart city scene. This includes the Chief Digital Officer for the City of Rotterdam, one of the world’s most progressive urban municipalities, which has a smart port and numerous data-driven city planning initiatives. Another major speaker will be the Deputy CIO of the City of Tel Aviv, a city that is home to some of the most forward-thinking startups focused on the built environment and has an extensive list of smart city projects.
Private sector experts from across western Europe and southeast Asia will also weigh in during the Expo. Mayor Suarez is not the only local voice: Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and Coral Gables’ CIO Raimundo Rodulfo are also slated to make presentations.
The Expo has six innovation focus areas: Sustainable Growth, Climate Action, Resilient Infrastructure, Smart Destinations, Inclusive & Sharing Cities, and Quality of Life.
The smart cities movement is not just altruistic. Taking part can also be a shrewd business move. Analysts predict that smart cities will generate $2.46 trillion of business opportunities by 2025. Scheinkman, a Brazilian native who has lived in Miami for three decades, said that he expects smart cities initiatives to bring $40 billion and 20,000 new jobs to South Florida in the same timeframe.
According to Scheinkman, benefits of attending include $1,000 in giveaways, a copy of the book Smart Cities for Dummies, and a certificate of participation. General Admission tickets are $95 and purchasers can get upgraded to the VIP level pass by completing a short survey when registering via SmartCityExpoMiami.com. Join the conversation on social media by using the hashtags #smartcityexpomiami and #SCEM2021.
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