Global wis­dom pooled in fight against city woes

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By LIA ZHU in San Fran­cisco li­azhu@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

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.

LIA ZHU / CHINA DAILY

Mem­bers of the or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee sign the ban­ner of the up­com­ing sum­mit G-50 at a press brief­ing last week in Cu­per­tino, Cal­i­for­nia.

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