Smart Cities Need Smart Mayors
In the past two weeks, I’ve spent time with both Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner discussing the role of technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship in their cities. Both of them want to make sure their cities can leverage tech to stay competitive for talent, outside investment, and are also eager to help keep building local innovation ecosystems. They want inclusive, responsible growth.
While technology plays an integral role in what we define as “Smart Cities,” city officials must understand how to align the needs of citizens with the technologies they’re considering. That’s one
Houston is the 4th largest city in the United States (with 2.3 million people), with a diverse, dynamic economy. Cleveland is the 52th (with about 383,000 people). But the two mayors of these dramatically different cities both were similarly thoughtful. They want investment into tech both to position their city for the future—and,
Cities need to harness tech for critical services like public safety or public Wi-Fi. But significant investment into things like cameras or connected streetlights requires both an understanding of the long-term viability of both the technology and of the vendor who will provide installation and ongoing support. Replacing a light bulb in a streetlight, for example, has been a fairly standard government function for decades. But smart streetlights can bring benefits like reduced energy consumption, automatic alerts about operational problems, and can make it possible to provide public Wi-Fi. But
In Detroit, we saw a vibrant start-up community primarily supporting the auto industry. Cleveland
In 2020, Techonomy plans to bring back what we started in Detroit—with more conversations about cities, entrepreneurship, competitiveness, and inclusive growth. As mayors obsess over issues like mobility, 5G, and the Internet of Things, they must understand the impact they will have on a city’s citizens and its diverse communities. Got ideas for how we should drive conversations about these issues? Drop me a line at email@example.com.
Josh Kampel is the CEO of Techonomy.