Tokyo, Japan (PRWEB) December 18, 2013
Addressing Social Issues in Growing Cities
This year, Smart City Week 2013 International Conference and Exhibition firmed up its position as an evolving platform for exploration into Smart solutions to address challenges faced by growing cities across the globe. With demographics trending towards the cities, government leaders and citizens everywhere are eager to explore how technology, infrastructure, clean energy use, etc., might solve social issues such as ageing populations, escalating energy needs, clean water requirements, education, workability and much more.
Growing Overseas and Government Participation makes Smart City Week a Wellspring of Learning and Possibility
Active participation from both Japanese and international government representatives rose 115% from the previous year to 26,170 with 336 attendees active at the myriad of symposiums, meetings and conferences. The group of non-Japanese attendees more than doubled this year to some 2,477 participants from 68 different countries and regions.
With 67.4% of the participants in decision-making positions, it is clear that visitors consider this Conference and Exhibition as the go-to venue for discussion, learning, networking and promotion.
A focal aspect of this international meet is the many seminars and presentations held throughout the week to focus participants’ attention on solutions produced by emerging smart city technology.
The exhibition displays the evolving infrastructure and technology companies create while the conferences and seminars feature experts and researchers from around the world to bolster the vision for how various technologies can combine to make global cities better for each individual citizen. This year’s meet featured 27 corporate seminars, 17 Trend Seminars and 36 Seminars in the Exhibition area’s Open Theatre with 181 presenters of which 48 were from overseas. During the various events, participants could explore collaboration opportunities directly with 1,151 representatives from local Japanese governments including Akita, Urayasu, Osaka, Kashiwa, Kawasaki, Kita-Kyusyu, Kobe, Saitama, Sakai, Tsukuba, Toyama, Toyota, and Hamamatsu Cities. Yokohama, Toyama, Toyota and Fukuoka also presented individual booths at the exhibition to give visitors an even more detailed insight into their activities.
International Delegations Take Home Hints and Ideas from Japan on Ways to Address Challenges of Sudden Economic Growth
Delegations including those from Tanzania, Finland, Colombia, Russia as well as special research groups with JICA and UNIDO added a sense of international cooperation and community. These international visitors were able to glean ideas and knowledge from Japanese experience in addressing social issues arising from sudden growth. Since the 1960s when Japan’s period of sudden growth began, rivers and air became polluted and growing cities were at risk of losing focus on the individual citizen and community. However, after much effort, time and investment, Japan was able to address many pollution issues, water supply system challenges, issues involving the public transportation system and much more. These are actually the exact challenges many growing cities around the world face today.
“We hope city planners and governments around the world will look at Japan and how these issues were tackled and be able to tap Japanese firms and technology to address these issues in their home countries. There is no need to go through the same learning curve when much of the solution technology is already at hand. We hope this conference can provide a venue where decision makers from localities everywhere can explore readily available solutions as well as opportunities to tailor those solutions to the unique issues faced on their home ground,” states Nikkei BP Cleantech Institute Director, Yosuke Mochizuki.
An embassy official present at the welcome reception where a group of 250 participants including ambassadors, diplomats, organizational heads and corporate decision makers came together, notes, “I realized this conference is where I can hone my Global perspective to interpret international trends and my overall perspective of Smart City. It is truly important to be at this type of event.”
An exhibition participant reflects, “One of our projects is now underway in my home country because I was able to meet and exchange business cards with one of the presenters. I received the detailed information from him, took it back to my colleagues and thanks to that, we now have a project underway. If I was not at this conference, we would not have been able to take it forward like this. This conference has been a wonderful help for us.”
The first two events built a perfect foundation for this year’s event and Nikkei Business Publications looks forward to increased activity and energetic exchange in 2014.
In his closing address on the final day of the conference, Mochizuki described how Smart City has evolved over the three events thus far. At the first event, the expert Steering Committee’s goal was to keep the “Citizens at the Center” because of the tendency to see Smart City as focused on Hardware. The center of Smart city should be the people who thrive and find benefit from a more efficient living and working environment.
At the second event, the Smart City leadership worked on the concept that Smart City efforts could be commercially successful. One of the biggest evolutions in the concept was the idea that Smart City is not only focused on infrastructure but on the services this infrastructure can provide. During this time, there was a huge evolution in keywords for the Smart City concept. Formerly limited to topics like energy, CO2, water, pollution, etc., related key words now include ageing, agriculture, mobility, employment and even a new word coined at “Smart City Expo World Congress” in Barcelona, “Workable”.
Looking ahead the 2014 event, from October 29 to 31 in Yokohama, Japan will focus on the role of Social Innovation and how cities can work not only at the cutting edge of technology, but can also focus on achieving cutting edge innovation via that technology to solve the issues facing cities now and in to the future. Smart City Week 2014 will serve as a crossroads where city government, corporate leadership, visionary researchers, experts and interested private citizens come together to explore ways to make the world’s cities kinder and more efficient for now and for future generations.