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Shanghai 2010

A Smartr Planet. Smarter Cities.

On June 2-3, IBM convened forward-thinking leaders in Shanghai, China, to explore how we can build smarter city systems.

Hosted by IBM Chairman, President and CEO Samuel J. Palmisano, SmarterCities Shanghai offered an unprecedented opportunity to hear from enterprising leaders who are enlisting public support, securing funding, locating the right partners and fast-forwarding approvals to make their cities more efficient, more productive and—in a word—smarter.

Approximately 800 leaders from 180 cities in 38 countries across Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas gathered to explore how to transform critical components of their cities to become more resilient, more sustainable and more secure. After all, the health of our planet and of society depends on it.

'This is not just about economics expansion, it's about economic expansion that's improving the quality of life… it is about how we build constituencies… build support… attract the right level of funding and the collaboration that's required to get many of these projects up and running.' - Sam Palmisano, IBM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, SmarterCities Shanghai

Session I: A Planet of SmarterCities—Seizing the Opportunities
Cities are the economic engines of sustainable economic growth for the 21st century. This session featured senior government leaders and state-owned enterprises from China who discussed the bold steps they are taking to manage rapid urbanization and drive innovation.

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Session II: SmarterCities—A Shared Agenda
Global competition for funding, energy and talent is making leaders do more with less. Here, we explored how enterprising, forward-thinking mayors from some of the world's most rapidly growing cities have garnered support and addressed citizen concerns to embark on serious urban transformation. We looked at the broader interrelationships between cities that help to build strong regions and countries, and discussed how these forward-thinking leaders are working to differentiate their cities to attract and retain the citizens and institutions they need to compete in a knowledge-based economy. Finally, we heard about Shanghai's preparations to host Expo 2010 and the best practices it has to share with other cities of the world.

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Session III: How to Build a Smarter City
Cities today are at the intersection of major global shifts. As the world's population becomes more urban, the center of gravity of major challenge and opportunity is being shifted to cities. To respond to these changes, civic leaders are shaping their own leadership agendas and making new investments.

In this session, we heard how cities—particularly those in Asia—are taking advantage of the new opportunities created by urbanization and globalization, and how they are responding to the social and economic dimensions of these shifts. Later, we heard IBM’s viewpoints on how to build a smarter city. And then broke out into several groups discussions on how to get started, hearing from seasoned leaders and subject matter experts who have implemented programs in their cities in healthcare, energy, transportation, water management, public safety and government services.

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The SmarterCities Leadership Series

  • Smarter Energy and Utilities
  • Smarter Water

Session IV: The Urban System of Systems—Making the Case
The benefits of city growth are far-reaching, and multiple players have a stake. This session will explore urban subsystems—and how they overlap, support and influence each other to improve the mechanical functioning of the city and its quality of life. We brought together some of the experts from our breakout session—from academics to industry leaders and urban planners—to take a systemic look at how to tackle structural problems horizontally across the urban spectrum.

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Session V: Investing in the SmarterCities Innovation Ecosystem
Around the world, governments are working closely with venture capitalists for economic recovery and growth. Here, top global investors discussed how they are driving transformative innovation by investing in smarter urban ecosystems in the growth markets.

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Session VI: Leadership in the Decade of Smart
Cities—more than states, provinces or even nations—are clearly the platform on which to make 21st century life more productive, more efficient and more vibrant. Yet, if we're really going to drive meaningful change, we need to get a lot smarter. We concluded the event with practical ideas on how to seize this historic moment to transform our cities.

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Expo 2010 Shanghai
To wrap up the event, we took part in an exclusive tour of Expo 2010 Shanghai to explore the latest innovations of 21st century urban life.