In the last six decades of the 20th Century, the global population has gradually become concentrated into the urban centres, a phenomenon that is dramatically taking place in developing countries at breakneck speed. According to UN forecasts in forty years’ time, the world’s urban population will double, going from 3.4 billion in 2009 to 6.4 billion by 2050. Cities will play a key role in responding to the major challenges of the 21st Century: climate change, social equality, urban development, sustainable mobility, economic development and the demand for greater participation by their citizens. Smart cities change models, consumption habits and the form in which they interact with the environment. Innovation allows us to construct today the society of tomorrow, generating local renewable energy, sustainable transport and even the efficient management of waste and water; and in every case, accompanied by the technology to interactively access information in real time thereby making life easier and more accessible.
All these urban innovation processes are being advanced by major cities such as Amsterdam, Copenhagen, London, Vienna, New York, Boston, Medellin, São Paolo, Toronto, Singapore, Seoul and Barcelona. And administrations such as the UK government that, through Future Cities Catapult, has invested €1.6bn in 5 years and the government of India with its 100 Smart Cities programme that enjoys a provision of €6.5bn over 5 years. This is a movement at global scale, with common solutions but in which each city has to establish its road map depending on its own challenges and priorities.
In Mexico the concept of the smart city is currently in its initial stages, offering a wide range of areas of opportunity for developing projects and achieving major results. Mexico must not miss out on this chance to become a country of reference, as it has so many huge multinationals and medium-sized companies that are looking for external markets, as well as due to the country’s potential to attract talent and develop new innovative businesses.
On 16-18 February 2016, the municipality of Puebla is hosting the 1st edition of Smart City Expo Puebla presented as the most important event in Latin America, with an anticipated 5,000 attendees and with 200 cities and 80 companies represented. Smart City Expo Puebla will be the meeting point that is a must for everyone that is one way or another involved in turning our cities more habitable places for all.
Smart City Expo Puebla is Latin America’s international version of the Smart City Expo World Congress, the event of reference for Smart Cities. Its staging is possible thanks to the management of the Federal, State and Municipal Government. The event will also benefit from a diverse range of institutions from different fields that are actively taking part in the organising committee. These include: UN-Habitat; the World Bank; the National Science and Technology Council; the National Congress of Mexican Municipalities; the Mexico Federal Government’s Ministry of the Economy, the Ministry of Agrarian, Land and Urban Development, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Communications and Transport; the National Institute for Federalism and Municipal Development; the María Molina Institute; the Centre for Research and Economic Teaching; the Secretary for Digital Innovation and Communications of the Municipality of Puebla; the Digital Strategy Office of the Government of the Republic; the Secretary for Tourism of Puebla State; and the Secretary for Economic Development and Tourism in the Municipality of Puebla.
This consolidates and strengthens the objectives of the Smart City Expo Puebla as an increasingly cross-disciplinary event in which society’s different sectors are involved in actions that lead to social good.
The keynote speeches include “The regional and metropolitan dimension in city governance”, “Mobility and the recuperation of the urban space”, “The challenge of equality: people at the centre of the Smart City”, “From ideas to action: instruments for urban change” and “Technology and innovation at the service of the individual”.
Smart City Expo Puebla is the event that will trigger actions for a new management model for Latin American cities, mainly focusing on social equality and generating strategies that will allow every citizen, no matter their social condition, to have access to the same quality and efficient services.