Cohort 3, Lorenzo Stilo and Joel Earps attended the Smart Cities and Communities: Achieving Smart Urban Growth event. Lorenzo Stilo reports on the event.....

On Wednesday the 22nd of March 2017, few members of my research team and I had the chance to take part of a forum event in Manchester to discuss about Smart Cities and how this new aspect of technology is having impact of urban development and integration with everyday life.

This day was organised by ‘Open Forum Events’ an association that aims to gather conferences of this kind on different areas and aspects of life and technologies, mostly focused on a company and industry-based view of the problem/thematic.

The ‘Smart Cities and Communities’ conference focused of having a broad view of how different commercial and institutional entities are interpreting and responding to this new area of development for urban zones.

Our aim for this event was to have an update on the approaches that different speakers and competitors are choosing when we come to deal with the challenges of making our cities ready for the next industrial revolution, to compare them with what our research team is doing in investigating how can cities change to match the new requirements and needs of their citizens.

The morning session opened with two different views for the London metropolitan area, one institutional the other private. Then Andy Burnham, MP for Leigh, welcomed the audience and present his agenda for the development of Manchester metropolitan area.

Next speaker present the structure and the development of a European Union project based on updating the public administration, this project involved four different European cities and aimed to understand common problematics and provide possible technological approached to face these problematics.

What follow were two private companies both focusing on developing and selling services oriented to ‘make our cities smarter’. The first from HERMAN International presented strategies to deal with the upcoming needs derived from overpopulation, energy consumption and outdated infrastructure. The second from 3DEXPERINCity showed the audience an example of the solution that this company is providing from great urban agglomerates such as Singapore, a complete virtual replica of the entire city underlining the benefit of such a complex and complete modelling.

The forum continued with the presentation of the joint project held by University of Bristol and Bristol City Council called ‘Bristol is Open’ focused on delivering a programmable digital infrastructure to facilitate R&D, innovation and experimentation at a city scale.

During the afternoon session Selux UK explained their innovation for exterior lighting systems as a case study to underline how aspects that from a traditional prospective have nothing to do with smart innovation find themselves on the verge of progress with simple but crucial upgrades to the current technology.

The Department of Computer Science of University College London (UCL) present an really interesting project base on wireless sensors system to monitor nocturnal animals life based on ultrasound pattern recognition for the area that hosted the Olympic Park in north of London.

Others notable speakers were: representative of CityVerve Project from University of Manchester and the IoT company FutureEverything.

The forum concluded with a panel discussion held by representative of Future Cities Catapult, Nesta and Cisco.

Overall the forum offered us a good experience to understand where different industries and institution are interpreting the concept of Smart Cities and what are some of the more interesting services and project offered in this area.


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