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Countdown to Smart City Expo

The event, which runs 14-16 November, will gather 700 cities, 675 exhibitors and 420 speakers from around the world

Expect plenty of lively discussion on the importance of citizen engagement with smart cities
Expect plenty of lively discussion on the importance of citizen engagement with smart cities

Citizen empowerment will be the main theme of this year’s Smart City Expo World Congress (SCEWC), the leading international smart cities event, which takes place from November 14 to 16 at Fira de Barcelona’s Gran Via venue. It will also feature the first Smart Mobility Word Congress, a smart transport summit focusing on urban and intercity transport.


Empower Cities, Empower Citizens will gather 700 cities, 675 exhibitors and 420 speakers. It marks a 14 per cent increase in exhibitors compared to 2016. The event will focus on strategies "to empower metropolises and their citizens through active participation, critical reflection, awareness and access and control over important decisions and resources".


"We believe that the role that citizens will play in the near futures will be crucial," said the event’s director, Ugo Valenti. "Top-down governance approaches are gone for good and we need to shift the relation between city governments and residents taking it one step further. Never before in history has there been so much talent and creativity concentrated in so little space. "


SCEWC will showcase examples of projects currently being developed worldwide that will reshape the way cities function and are managed. Dubai, for example, will showcase an autonomous and electric air taxi service jointly developed with German company Volocopter. Spanish company FCC will also display an aerial robot for sewer inspection and within the Safe Cities field, SCEWC will show the world’s tiniest panic button embedded in a ring.


A total of 420 international experts will share their insights about how the urban future should address its most pressing challenges. All of them will delve into the future of urban settlements through a conference program structured in eight themes: Government, Safe cities, Economy, Sustainability, Circular, Society and Data Technology.


Visitors can hear from an impressive line-up of speakers with Dirk Ahlborn, Joan Clos, Robert Muggah, Bettina Warburg and Dimitri Zenghelis among the keynotes.


Robert Muggah is the co-founder of the Igarapé Institute and The SecDev Foundation and is largely known for his work on fragile cities, arms control, and migration. His field of expertise is the crossroads between cities, security and technology. His work on designing platforms to map arms transfers, track homicide, predict crime, and promote accountability among police is globally recognised.


Joan Clos is the executive director of UN-Habitat since October 2010. Prior to joining the United Nations, he served as the Spanish Ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan and was Minister of Industry, Tourism, and Trade of Spain and has an extensive background in urban governments having been elected twice as mayor of Barcelona from 1997 until 2006.


Bettina Warburg leads the blockchain practice at Animal Ventures and works with Governments and members of the Fortune 500 list to help drive the global commercialisation and integration of blockchain technology. Warburg started her career as Public Foresight Strategist at the Institute for the Future.


Dimitri Zenghelis is one of the leading experts in climate change economics. A Senior Visiting Fellow at the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics, he studies the macroeconomic aspects of climate change and the design of policy regimes for tackling harmful climate change.


Among the other speakers at SCEWC: include: Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez, senior director Social, Urban, Rural & Resilience Global Practice at the World Bank; Gilles Babinet, Digital Champion representing France at the European Commission; Miguel Gamiño Jr, New York Chief Technology Officer; Theo Blackwell, London Chief Digital Officer; and Kasim Reed, Mayor of Atlanta (USA).


The companies exhibiting at the 2017 event, the biggest yet, include CAF, Deutsche Telekom, Engie, Huawei, Mastercard, Microsoft, SAP, Siemens, Suez and ZTE.


The event will also gather representatives from over 700 metropolises from around the globe. Among them, Atlanta, Berlin, Casablanca, Dubai, Grenoble, London, Lyon, Montevideo, Moscow, New York City, Puebla, Québec, Taipei, Tel Aviv and Zheijhang. While the event will also host several country pavilions such as those of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, China, Denmark, Dubai, Finland, Germany, Holland, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden and USA.


One of the key subjects every city has to address is mobility. The ability to guarantee safe and easy movement both within a city and from one metropolis to another has indeed become one of the cornerstones of smart cities. By 2050 there will be almost 7 billion people living in cities and over the same period of time road and rail travel will double and freight through these same canals will increase three-fold.



To tackle the challenges facing cities transport-wise, SCEWC will host the first Smart Mobility World Congress, a smart transport summit that will showcase the most innovative advances in urban and inter-city mobility from companies such as Alstom, Amurrio, CAF or Railtech Sufetra.


The Smart Mobility World Congress will have its own space within SCEWC, where specialist mobility companies will be grouped together, and it will also have its own auditorium for transport conferences, the Smart Mobility Hub.


Among the 80 experts in transportation speaking at the conference is Hyperloop CEO, Dirk Ahlborn, who will analyse the impact that this new mode of transportation conceived by Elon Musk might have in consolidating a network of metropolises. The Hyperloop consists of a vacuum tube or network of tubes through which a capsule with passengers can travel at speeds of up to 1,200 km/h.


Over the last six years, SCEWC has become the world smart cities benchmark event gathering over 16,000 attendees from 126 countries on its last edition. Its international impact has grown with regional events in Casablanca, Istanbul, Kyoto and Puebla and in September this year, Buenos Aires.


Fira de Barcelona’s international business director, Ricard Zapatero, said that "with Smart City Expo Buenos Aires, Fira continued its strategy of international expansion of Smart City Expo World Congress as the benchmark event for smart cities, contributing to promote new initiatives in different parts of the world in the field of urban development, innovation and sustainability."


The baton is now handed over to Barcelona once again and SmartCitiesWorld will be at the event and looks forward to keeping you abreast of developments.


Check out our dedicated SCEWC2017 hub here


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