Why City Leaders Should Attend the Smart Cities NYC ’17 Conference

With partners such as Vice Media and the New York City Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation, the Smart Cities NYC ’17 conference will convene thought leaders from around the world to advance ideas about innovation, infrastructure and inclusion, with a focus on technology for social good, sustainability, resilience and equity.

The Smart Cities NYC ’17 conference and expo will be held May 3–6 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in Brooklyn, New York. (Getty Images)

This is a guest interview by Simon Sylvester-Chaudhuri with Jerry Hultin, the president of Global Futures Group (GFG), a consulting firm that guides public and private clients on best practices in creating smart cities.

GFG builds and cultivates innovation infrastructure, enabling cities, states, countries and corporations to embrace technology and drive higher productivity and job growth within a sustainable framework. GFG is hosting the Smart Cities NYC ’17 conference and expo in partnership with Emergence Creative, Fira Barcelona, Vice Media and the New York City Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation. National League of Cities members receive a 25 percent discount on passes to Smart Cities NYC ’17 with the code SMARTNLC. Register here.

What is Smart Cities NYC ‘17?

Smart Cities NYC ‘17, a conference and expo to be held May 3–6 in New York City, will convene thought leaders from around the world to advance ideas about innovation, infrastructure and inclusion, with a focus on technology for social good, sustainability, resilience and equity. SCNYC17 will be hosted at the historic Brooklyn Navy Yard, with panel discussions, side events, receptions and more than 20 educational workshops. Our attendees will include more than 60 multi-sector partners as well as CIOs/CTOs from around the country, private sector and NGO leaders, and international delegations from Hong Kong, India, China, Qatar, UAE, the Netherlands and Denmark, among others.

Smart Cities NYC ’17: Powered by People is the first conference and expo to focus on the importance of citizen engagement in urban innovation. Our conference events will take place May 3–5, and May 6 will be a day for citizen engagement, with the conference open to the public. Throughout the week we’ll discuss a variety of topics ranging from infrastructure and autonomous vehicles to urban food systems and the latest smart city innovations. We want to ensure that the conversation hits the broad strokes and themes within the market but also gets into some deeper dives into subjects like disabilities, civic engagement, transportation and health.

Why is the Smart Cities NYC ‘17 theme ‘Powered by People?’

The impact of technology on society often gets lost in smart city conversations, so we wanted to be sure to tell that story. We want to emphasize the human element and explore how new programs technologies affect people in cities. To create a smart city, city leaders must leverage data and technology while also implementing programs that promote civic engagement to help make citizens’ lives better and boost economic development. We want to refocus the conversation around the effects of new technologies on people’s everyday lives, jobs, food and, most importantly, how they mobilize.

What can attendees expect at Smart Cities NYC ‘17?

Our speaker roster is a star-studded showcase of the amazing people, ideas and projects that are working to improve cities globally. Speakers include Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson; Michael Stevens, Chief Innovation Officer, City of Columbus; Don Doctoroff, Founder and CEO of Sidewalk Labs; Miguel Gamino, Jr., New York City’s Chief Technology Officer; Rachel Haot, Managing Director of 1776; and Patrick Foye, Executive Director, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. A full list of scheduled speakers can be found here.

In addition to our great panels and keynote presentations, we will offer a deeper dive into topics through more than 20 workshops with partners such as NYU, MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Numa, C40, Cities for Life, Civic Hall, the International Trade Administration, Capalino and Company, and many more. Urban X, a venture accelerator founded by MINI in partnership with the venture capital and investment firm SOSV, will host a startup pitch day that is generating a lot of excitement. We’ve been really fortunate to have some truly innovative and forward-thinking institutions step up and support us.

Since we began the process of creating the conference nearly two years ago, we have been joined by a lot of great multi-sector partners who also want to examine what’s happening in the foundational sectors of smart cities development, from mobility and transportation to health, infrastructure, energy and finance.

Why did you choose New York City’s Brooklyn Navy Yard as the conference venue?

The staff behind Smart Cities NYC ‘17 has had the privilege of participating in similar events throughout the U.S. and the world, and we realized that New York City has a great “smart city story” to tell, in addition to just being a great location for domestic and global attendees to discuss best practices in the space. We’ve had great support from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office, and we are so excited for attendees to visit the iconic Navy Yard.

How can city leaders who are unable to attend participate in Smart Cities NYC ‘17?

We really want to foster a conversation among the members of our community, so our team and partners will be live Tweeting throughout the four days of the event as well as posting to Instagram and Facebook. City leaders can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to join the Smart Cities NYC ‘17 community.

For a wealth of information on smart cities and how city leaders can consider and plan smart city projects, read “Trends in Smart City Development,” NLC’s recent report featuring case studies about how five cities — Philadelphia, San Francisco, Chicago, Charlotte, N.C., and New Delhi, India — are using different approaches to implement smart city projects.

About the author: Simon Sylvester-Chaudhuri is a managing partner at Global Futures Group. In this role, he is a strategic advisor to the U.S. Department of Commerce and the International Trade Administration on Smart Cities. Simon is also the executive director of Civ:Lab, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to scaling solutions for cities globally. Simon is an adjunct professor at NYU’s Center for Global Affairs as well as the founder of Urban Data NYC, New York City’s largest smart city Meetup.