The ideal of smart cities -- technologically advanced, forward-thinking, and green -- is big in corporate circles these days. IBM has its "Smarter Cities" program, Cisco has its "Smart+Connected Communities," and the giant electronics corporation Philips has been promoting the concept of "Livable Cities" lately.
Philips is currently sponsoring a "Livable Cities Award" ("designed to generate practical, achievable ideas for improving the health and well-being of people living in cities") that is going to mean a €75,000 grant for the lucky winner. Concepts in the running include solar- and wind-powered lighting for playing fields (from New York City), a rooftop water collection system (from Sana'a, Yemen), a community-designed parks initiative (from Binghamton, N.Y.), and the current top vote-getter -- a network coordinating services for the elderly in Abeokuta, Nigeria. Take a look at them all and vote for your favorite. (see the full Grist article to vote)
From Fast Company:
Another week, another smarter city conference. "It's the creation of a new industry!" Cisco's chief globalization officer, Wim Elfrink, exclaimed on stage last night at the opening of Global Green Cities of the 21st Century, this week's stop on what is rapidly becoming a conference circuit populated by mayors, architects, academics, consultants and financial types all struggling to understand just how we'e going to build (and make money building) smarter, greener cities on a scale that's practically unimaginable--according to a recent study from the Lincoln institute, humanity's urban footprint is set to double in just 19 years. (Full disclosure: Fast Company is the conference's media partner.)
Cause Integration Perspective:
The cause of greener cities has become a defining mantle for many companies, particularly amongst corporate giants from IBM to Philips to Cisco. In environments where these companies seek to thrive, these three companies amongst others are defining the playing field, articulating and imagining the extent to which private enterprise can enter into and engage the public sector in dialogue around appropriate development of urban centers.
Both private corporations and the public sector (not to mention citizens) stand to benefit enormously from innovative ideas that result in greater emphasis on sustainability and smart ideas for working urban centers. Additionally, public / private sector partnerships normalize companies working with the public sector foster a spirit of collaboration that will assist in the development both of smarter cities and smarter and more effective corporate social responsibility.