Global wisdom pooled in fight against city woes
The common challenges facing cities today — housing, transportation, healthcare, energy and the environment — will be examined at an upcoming summit by pooling global cities’ resources.
The G-50 Global Smart City Summit ( G- 50), cosponsored by the two Silicon Valley cities of Cupertino and Santa Clara, aims to bring together experts from 50 cities around the world, as well as academia and major industries, to promote innovation and deployment of smart city technologies.
Climate change tops the list of proposed topics, which also includes energy, safety, healthcare, technological localization and research sharing.
With changes to global and regional climate patterns, mostly attributed to increased levels of carbon dioxide from the use of fossil fuels, it is more important than ever for global cities to pool together their knowledge and best practices, said Darcy Paul, mayor of Cupertino.
“We are dedicated to working on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, moving forward on sustainable city growth, and improving the quality of life of our residents,” he said.
Cupertino and Santa Clara are home to high-tech giants like Apple, Intel and Nvidia. Both cities use the “inside stories” on the “greenest and newest” office building — Apple Park — and football stadium — Levi’s Stadium — to tout what they said is the first event of its kind in history.
“Levi’s Stadium brings with it smart technologies, which won the city awards as a result,” said Kathy Watanabe, vice-mayor of Santa Clara. “As we develop, we need to learn from each other the ability to continue to use resources reasonably and environmentally.”
The idea of a “smart city” is to create intelligent and efficient solutions to support city growth toward a more sustainable and resilient society and provide better services to its residents, said Mayor Paul and Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Cillmor in their invitation letter of Feb 7.
Through mayor discussion panels, the participants will have the opportunity to share their knowledge, compare notes with industries and academia, and seek feasible solutions to a variety of municipal problems.
City representatives will also have the opportunity to bring technology and innovation back to their hometowns, and industry players can demonstrate their products to the participating cities and potentially sell them, according to the letter.
The gathering is scheduled for April 6-7 and half of the participants are expected to be from China. So far, five Chinese cities, including the Shunyi District of Beijing, Beichen District of Tianjin, Xuzhou, Changzhou and Nanchang, have confirmed attendance. The organizers expect more confirmations in the coming weeks.
The idea of hosting such a forum came from former Cupertino mayor Barry Chang’s many trips to China. In addition to four sister cities in Taiwan, Italy, India and Japan, the city also has 22 friendship cities, mostly in China.
Chang, a current council member of Cupertino and president of G-50, said a lot more can be done at municipal level governments as the federal or national governments usually just talk instead of taking action.
He said he was amazed by the advancement of Shanghai’s subway system and that he expected Chinese cities would share their success stories in urban construction at the Silicon Valley summit.
Members of the organizing committee sign the banner of the upcoming summit G-50 at a press briefing last week in Cupertino, California.