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February 20, 2008

Blogging Connected Urban Development #1

What do Amsterdam, San Francisco, and Seoul have in common?

Think Green. Smart and Connected.

Under the auspices of Cisco Systems and their corporate commitment to lead in support the efforts of the Clinton Global Initiative, leaders from these three international cities and invited delegates from nearly 100 cities around the world gathered today for the launch of the two day 2008 Connected Urban Development Global conference in San Francisco.

Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco opened the conference with a call for a commitment to use the Connected Urban Development consortium as a best practices repository from the world's most innovative cities committed to using technology to reduce CO2 emissions and other smart technologies to address sustainable futures in other sectors.

President Clinton and CEO John Chambers both framed the cornerstone of the effort as a generational challenge focusing on the future, the welfare of citizenship around the world, and the future of the global environmental development. There is no way to solve the civilizational malaise we face one city at a time, one company at a time, one sector at a time. The CUD is also being framed as a common architecture solution orientation for replication and adaptation in other settings.

Eighty percent of all global emissions originate in urban settings. And the reality is that for another generation that proportion will grow until urbanization peaks out. We inside the IT world are more aware than ever that our data centers and other technology infrastructure accounts for as much power and energy consumption as the aviation industry. At the same time, it is clear that technology is part of the solution.

According to Chambers, the next phase of the internet and the driver for economic growth will be premised on a new paradigm which he calls collaborative based on web 2.0 technologies. One of the sages of the first long wave of internet productivity, Chambers is calling for 10% productivity increases in his company over the next 7 years based on the collaboration model. I wouldn't bet against Chambers although there are additional complexities to the current decade that distinguish it from the 1996-2006.

One of the central opportunities is the development of a pervasive, high quality, high definition video conferencing infrastructure. Long the 'great hope' of a rich media and rich sensory experiences access to video is Cisco's next 'big' bet. While there are a number of interesting sociological challenges in shifting human communication behaviors towards these augmented virtual reality systems business adoption will likely lead to additional use and adaptation in other settings across the city, region, or around the world.

A large and provocative portfolio of applications in different settings including smart homes, smart transportation systems, smart construction and building operations with examples from Amsterdam, San Francisco, and Seoul are the subjects of subsequent blogs.

Each of the mayors open not only with examples of their own efforts but of interest, routinely reflecting on examples from one another. As we think about the value of these shared best practices it will be important to not only shed light on the common sharing among leading innovating and growing cities and their eco-systems but begin to also look at creating shared best practices for turn around cities and the growing number of 19th century cities who are either by design or through neglect shrinking its population and economic basis.

To that end, the first session included the introduction of the mayors of the second phase Connected Urban Development partners; Lisbon,Madrid, Hamburg, and Birmingham. These cities offer relevant contexts for cities like Cleveland and other older industrial cities in Europe and North America. Rather than waiting for next year's report on progress in Amsterdam, Cleveland, Akron, and other cities in NEOhio should pro-actively consider approaching and joining the Connected Urban Development consortium. There's much to learn and also something to contribute to these important challenges of our generation.

Smart. Green. Connected. Not a bad tag line for Northeast Ohio.

Lev Gonick
February 20, 2008
San Francisco, CA

Posted by lsg8 at February 20, 2008 11:34 AM and tagged

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