Smart cities movement picks up momentum

The Climate Group assumes management for Cisco's Connected Urban Development initiative, even as EPA announces assistance for state capital cities interested in accelerating sustainable design.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

It's official: Management of the Connected Urban Development movement kicked off last year by smart cities technology proponent Cisco has officially been handed off to The Climate Group, with is a non-profit group working with government and business leaders to oversee the build-out of technologies and policies for smart cities and smart transportation cities.

The intention of the transfer, which was planned for some time, is to help advance the number of technology trials that are going on around the world to help reserve growing levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

At the same time, another organization representing approximately 100 cities -- Metropolis, the World Association of Major Metropolises -- said it will join forces with The Climate Group for the next phase of smart cities initiatives and buildouts.

Here are the facts: Cities account for something like 70 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions, according to various research numbers. Considering that urban populations are estimated to grow to about 59 percent of the total world population by 2030, addressing the carbon footprint of cities clearly will have an impact.

The smart cities projects being spearheaded by The Climate Group build off the principles explored in the Smart 2020 program, which holds that information and communications technologies could help cut global greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent by the year 2020.

One of the projects that will help inform future work by The Climate Group is the work being done by Cisco on Songdo, a 1,500-acre "smart, sustainable city" being built entirely from scratch in South Korea.

Here's a gallery of what Songdo will look like.

Best practices from the project will be fed back into The Climate Group.

Incidentally, the U.S. Environment Protection Agency just announced a new program to support state capital cities that are interested in incorporating sustainable design and green infrastructure into their future development plans. Greening America's Capitals will provide sustainable design assistance to up to four cities per year. The assistance can be used for anything from accelerating existing projects in priority neighborhoods to helping develop new building codes and regulations to support sustainable development. (Believe me, that is a big deal!)

Cities interested in being considered need to send their letters of intent to the EPA by July 9, 2010. There will be a preliminary round of evaluation and then final selections will be made in fall 2010.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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