Nov 02 2016

CIOs Form Global Network to Tackle Smart City Challenges in Unison

Washington D.C. and San Francisco have founded a global network for Smart City leadership, pledging a deep commitment to collaboration and learning.

Managing a city is simultaneously local and global. It’s local because a city is a defined area with real boundaries in real environments, but it’s also global since cities across the globe face many of the same challenges.

This venerable concept is at the heart of what Sister Cities International established over 60 years ago when it dubbed a place like Los Angeles as a sister city to a place like Athens, Greece.

In that spirit, leaders in Washington D.C. and San Francisco joined forces in September to launch the Council of Global City CIOs. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser jointly authored the announcement, and the duo raised a fundamental question they want all cities to consider:

Technology impacts every person on this planet, including, of course, those who live in our great cities of Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. And it will continue to impact how we, mayors of the world’s cities, serve our residents. The question is, how do we harness the technological opportunity to make their lives better?

Archana Vemulapalli, chief technology officer for D.C., and Miguel A. Gamiño Jr, CIO of San Francisco, were selected to head up the council, which launched in early September. (Gamiño recently announced he’d be taking on the role of chief technology officer for New York City.)

Shortly after the launch, Vemulapalli joined Seattle CTO Michael Mattmiller, Illinois CIO Hardik Bhatt and San Diego Deputy COO David Graham on a panel discussion about challenges and successes as part of Smart Cities Week. According to StateScoop, Vemulapalli told the audience, “We need a horizontal group that pulls from operational expertise and looks across the cross section. Now, when we’re looking at deploying any capability, we’re not just looking at how it helps traffic, we’re looking across boundaries. That’s the fun part of what we’re doing.”

In another example of collaboration, Ingrid van Engelshoven, a city alderman for the Hague in the Netherlands, showed off a document last month outlining a Cyber Resiliency Framework that was put together by Washington D.C., New York City, San Francisco and The Hague.

Expect to see more global Smart City collaboration going forward, and stay tuned for more collaborations and developments from the Global City CIOs council.


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