Smart infrastructure is the theme for Smart Cities Week 2017, which takes place in Washington D.C. in October 2017. It brings together North America’s visionary leaders and thinkers from all levels of government to hear real-world examples of smart infrastructure solving tough urban challenges.
“Today we have the opportunity to create more advantages for our citizens, our cities and towns, our business and industry – and along the way, our planet,” says Jesse Berst, chairman of the Smart Cities Council, which hosts the event. “We can do all of that with smart infrastructure,” Berst adds. “Smart infrastructure is the foundation for future success, for better paying jobs and for a new era of prosperity for all.”
Attendees will hear from public, private and non-profit leaders and subject matter experts from around the world during keynote addresses, workshops, roundtable discussions and panel sessions aligned to six tracks:
- Infrastructure Innovation
- City Showcase
- Climate Resilience
- Compassionate Cities
- Investing for Change
- Built Environment
In particular, it will look at areas like readying the roads and planning for autonomous vehicles. Communities still lack understanding of and readiness for this transformative new technology. Research, education, and development of resources are needed to help communities prepare to minimize the costs and maximize benefits of autonomous vehicle deployment, through solutions based on planning, policy, and financial strategies. The American Planning Association (APA) will convene a conversation around issues and opportunities related to preparing smart infrastructure for the advent of autonomous vehicles.
One of the conference sessions will explore smart energy analytics for cities. In the US, buildings consume up to 75 percent of the primary energy use for cities. This session will showcase and seek dialogue on cities-related research done at the US Department of Energy National Laboratories focusing on data, tools, analytics, and case studies to demonstrate technologies. These technologies include energy efficiency, district energy systems, renewable energy, storage, and demand response.
Integrating these strategies can reduce energy use in city building stocks by up to 50 percent. Resiliency of energy infrastructure and energy flexibility of buildings will also be discussed. The session is based on real projects from the DOE labs that involve collaborating with US cities on energy, sustainability, and resiliency.
It will also look at funding smart infrastructure investment. Digital infrastructure requires significant financial resources, however, cities that do not make these critical investments will get left behind. Experts in municipal finance and green bonds will explain about alternatives to traditional taxpayer-financed smart city infrastructure projects.
The October event follows on from Smart Cities Silicon Valley in May 2017, where US Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA) – a leading technology advocate in Congress who co-chairs the House internet of things caucus as well as the Congressional Caucus on virtual, augmented and mixed reality technologies – said it’s important to understand the opportunities that advanced technologies and connectivity can unleash in communities large and small across the country.
Conference participants in Silicon Valley had a deep-dive into the new technologies the congresswoman championed, including what breakthroughs in artificial intelligence will mean for cities, how leaders can prepare for the arrival of self-driving cars, new technologies that are helping tackle homelessness and the latest advances in 3D urban modeling, among many others.
The conference was the first West Coast Smart Cities Week hosted by the Smart Cities Council, an advocate for more liveable, workable and sustainable cities that benefit all citizens. Major sponsors of the event included Deloitte, Hitachi, Comcast/machineQ, Fybr, Microsoft and Victor Stanley.
Program details for Smart Cities Week in Washington D.C. in October 2017 can be found here.
[Image: IDB, Inter-American Development Bank]