Calling out for Superheroes to reinvent cities

Innovators, digital leaders, CIOs, CTOs and all you saviours of the universe, put on your capes and join us. We are facing a major threat. No matter what some political leaders may say, climate change is real and there is not one thing that can have a greater impact on everyone’s lives. Nothing else will matter if our planet becomes incompatible with human life.

This is our mission: reinventing cities

What is unique about our cities is that these are both one of the main contributors to climate change and where change has the potential to have the greatest impact. Our cities must become more livable, more sustainable and, at the same time, great places to work now and in an uncertain future. This is our mission and with our super powers and the power of technology, we must reinvent our cities and save the world.

Transportation will be the linchpin of change

With some many areas like buildings, data and networks, economics, energy, governmental services, public safety, mobility, waste and water, in urgent need of reinvention, some of you may feel daunted by the task ahead. We will take the lead from Jonathan Reichental’s work in the city of Palo Alto and tackle what has the greatest impact on climate change: transportation and, more specifically, cars. This is also where a massive revolution is underway and although we are unable to predict what will happen during the transition, we have the powers to take action and to envision what the future of cars in the cities will be.

Autonomous, Connected, Electric and Shared cars

That is where we are heading for. Maybe self-driven cars will not be ubiquitous in the next five years, but that will definitely be the reality in thirty years and we can look forward to a radical reduction of the number of human beings who die from car accidents and of the cost per travelled kilometre.

As for the connected car, we are already rather familiar with that concept and able to start tapping into the potential of vehicles that capture information from their environment: managing traffic flows or our own route from information about traffic signals or accidents, for example.

The electric car has been slow to penetrate, but is becoming more and more relevant and mainstream. As combustion engines rapidly decline and laws start supporting the growth of renewable energy sources instead of fossil energy sources, this trend will accelerate even more. Even in those countries which are still mostly dependent on fossil fuels, transitioning from a 15% efficient combustion engine to a 90% efficient electric engine will have an extraordinarily positive impact on climate change.

Whereas currently owning a car is still, for most people, cheaper than travelling by taxi (or Uber, or Lyft), once autonomous cars start becoming more widespread, the cost per travelled kilometre will drop so low that this relation will be inverted and no longer owning a car will be a justifiable investment.

Help us superheroes, you are our only hope

With so much certainty about what our cities will be facing in the not so far future, but so much uncertainty regarding the transition period, the mission is not an easy one. The villain has a masterplan that will compromise our survival if we hide in fear and do nothing about it. But we are problem solvers and the world need us to take action now. We pledge to put on our capes, get inspiration from the work Jonathan Reichental (CIO of Palo Alto city) shared in his talk at CIOCITY17 and start reinventing our cities. Nothing will stop us now.


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