Smart Cities: Design Cities & Governments for Inclusivity

New technologies have allowed the current generation to be the most connected in history – so why does it feel like governments are the most disconnected they have ever been? A lag in feedback from the citizens to the bodies that represent their interests can be detrimental at all levels of society. Thankfully, there are people who are actively working to stop the disconnect. We’ve invited them to our Government & Politics Track in the SXSW Conference to host discussions with experts from across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors on issues like technology regulation, livable cities, privacy issues, and the challenge of maintaining civil engagement in the age of social media.

With tech working its way into our everyday lives, it’s about time that it’s utilized to update our government. With better connection, better insights into the lives of everyday people, and better feedback from the communities that policies are intended to serve, technology has the potential to change how we govern and bring policy to the cutting edge.

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Creating Opportunities for All Through New Tech

Government must keep pace with the expectations of its people and with the even faster pace of emerging technologies. Upgrading today’s public sector service delivery means creating a roadmap to continuous improvement becoming the norm, not the exception. John Paul Farmer, City of New York Chief Technology Officer and former tech advisor in the Obama administration, will map the role of technology in improving the lives of people and making government better in A Roadmap to the Future-Ready City

5G will dramatically alter urban life by connecting more devices at dramatically faster speeds with fewer delays. This will have a massive impact on how cities operate and how services are delivered. Chelsea Collier (DigiCity), Jon Corner (City of Salford (UK) / The Landing), and Jordan Davis (Smart Columbus, Columbus Partnership) compare how the U.S. and the U.K are approaching smart cities in Smart Cities: US vs UK. Who’s Winning. Smart Columbus won the U.S. Smart Cities Challenge in 2017, and built partnerships to serve the city’s most vulnerable through connected tech. Jon Corner has led the development of Salford’s MediaCityUK, host to the UK’s first operational 5G network and 5G-enabled Living Lab. Speakers will share how they are shaping smart city approaches and deploying 5G, AR/VR, autonomous vehicles and more, discussing the benefits and areas for caution.

Every month, the world’s urban population grows by 6 million – cities are facing unprecedented growth, accelerated by the prospect of jobs, education, and a better life. With so much growth, how can cities unlock better access to social, economic and academic opportunities for all? For underserved groups such as young people or the homeless, access and inclusion continues to be a challenge. Mind the Gap: Innovating for Inclusive Cities contemplates how cities can deploy new technologies to promote inclusivity and empower communities to take advantage of all that a city has to offer. Juan Cabrera (El Paso ISD), Miguel Gamino (Mastercard), and Kim Hart (Axios) sit on this panel to discuss how cities can interweave these technologies into every aspect of people’s daily lives. The panelists will also share examples of new pilot programs and will offer perspectives from the civic, social and private sectors.

Adaptability to Need in Real Time

Americans want city governments to be more responsive to their needs and desires. Meanwhile, city leaders manage what they can measure, needing hard data to drive smart decisions and focus on what works. It’s more important than ever for city leaders to engage their residents in strategic, innovative ways to get actionable feedback and inject community voice into city government processes and priorities. This is easier to do if technology is used as a way to bridge the gap between communities and their government. Sit down with Hassan Aden (The Aden Group LLC), Carmen Best (Seattle Police Department), Mecole Jordan (Policing Project), and Sujeet Rao (Elucd) in Innovate to Collaborate: Tech for Community Voice as they explore how cities big and small across the U.S. use technology to power collaboration between government and communities — unlocking new opportunities to help people shape how their cities are run.

Play is universal, and it can be a powerful tool for bridging divides within cities and communities — yet it is often absent from major discussions surrounding urban development or city change. City Change Through Play explores how play can have a positive impact upon the built environment, public policy, and everyday life. Sarah Brin (Meow Wolf), Leticia Lozano (MACIA Estudio), Ryan Swanson (The Urban Conga), and Malaika Toyo (Made Culture) will share a variety of play-focused projects and perspectives from around the world, demonstrating the power, value and impact of play upon city change and development.

Speak Up with Industry Experts and Peers

The world is changing. The worldwide digital revolution and globalization across industries are contributing to the disappearance of the middle class. People are fleeing their countries in large numbers due to changing climate or hostile politics. Cities need to prepare for diversity and growth in order to be more socially inclusive. Gentrification & Inclusive Smart Human Cities Meet Up will use San Francisco and the Silicon Valley as a case study to looking at the future of smart human cities through a conversation between Christel De Maeyer (Artevelde University College/ TU/e Eindhoven Netherlands) and Marit Ginevro (Racing Henk bvba).

More on Smart Cities

Though these sessions come from various places across the 22 tracks of Conference programming, they expand further on designing for inclusivity in smart cities.

Browse More Government & Politics Track Sessions

For more sessions that cover the realms of government and politics, browse through the Government & Politics Track sessions.

This Convergence Track gives primary access to all badge types.

Across our 22 tracks of Conference programming, browse all sessions on the SXSW Schedule and add events to your Favorites list to start planning your SX adventure.

Browse Government & Politics Sessions

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Featured Image by Judy Won

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