Smart investment in smart cities

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Lisa Brown, Senior National Director, Municipal Infrastructure & Smart Cities, North America

By Lisa Brown 
Senior National Director, Municipal Infrastructure & Smart Cities, North America, Johnson Controls

In June, I was fortunate enough to lead a panel on smart infrastructure investing at the Canadian Venture Capital Association’s (CVCA) annual event. I joined industry experts to discuss the importance of advances in technology for infrastructure development and improvements, specifically for urban environments tackling smart city goals.

While 70 percent of the world’s population is expected to live in cities by 2050, how are cities preparing to make the required infrastructure investments to create a thriving municipal brand? This is an important question, especially as cities compete with one another for resources and investment, not just within their states but across the country and even the world.

Connectivity and technology are not the end goal for smart cities – they are the means to improving the quality of life for city residents.
Successful smart cities are those whose leaders recognize the importance of bringing together technology and sharing data in a holistic fashion, which in turn creates a safer and more comfortable environment for residents and visitors alike. With buildings creating 33 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally, taking a look at building stock is a good place to start with smart city planning. City leaders are beginning to recognize that this planning will result in economic growth, reduced carbon emissions and cost savings.

Private investors are keen on identifying smart-city opportunities with solid returns. However, these investors understand that in order for projects to be noteworthy, they must be connected to an increase in public safety, community development enhancements and resiliency.

Connectivity and technology are not the end goal for smart cities – they are the means to improving the quality of life for city residents. That’s what it’s all about. All of us – including investors – want to be connected to projects and cities where people, planet and performance are woven together to create positive outcomes.
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