Smart Cities: Collaboration is Key

Trevor Westerlund

our fictional aristocrat

In December of 2017, I attended a Smart Cities event hosted by the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade. The event brought together city officials, business leaders from the private sector, and thought leaders for a discussion on what a Smart City initiative could look like in Vancouver.

It quickly became apparent that everyone had a very different opinion about what makes a “Smart City.”

Ever since I was a young kid watching The Jetsons, I’ve been interested in modern cities and how we can use technology to solve real-world problems. I think of all the houses, shopping centres, restaurants, and schools up in the sky on stilts, and I wonder if it was because of the rising sea levels in Orbit City!

When we’re talking about a truly Smart City, I think it is safe to say that everyone agrees two aspects should be addressed: We need connected cities and we need accessible cities.

A connected city can mean many things. At Radical, we believe that it means establishing a cohesive transportation and services network for a community where all levels of government (Federal, Provincial, Municipal) are involved. They could then use the data - about things like traffic patterns, water usage, and underutilized infrastructure - and work with citizens, city planners, and technology experts to achieve greater goals and create positive, meaningful change.

An accessible city values all of its members and works hard to break down any barriers they might face. This might mean improving public transportation, installing audible signals at crosswalks, and expanding and adapting recreation programs. Every citizen should be able to access and enjoy everything their city has to offer. We need connection and accessibility.

How do we get there? What tools do we need? How do we overhaul the current infrastructure without putting cities into debt? I’m not sure that I can answer all of these questions, but I do know that the only way that we can find the answers is through true collaboration.

Vancouver has some of the top talent in the world when it comes to technology, innovation, connectivity, and social policies - so how hard would it be to create real, meaningful change in our city?

If we want to institute change, we have to change the way we do business. For our company, it means that we are actively looking for partners and collaborators to work together to create a connected, accessible city. You know the saying: be the change you want to see in the world.

All of us here at Radical would love to see organizations that have different specializations come together to advance this vision for our city:

Our talented organizations all have different skill sets, strengths, and creative perspectives that we bring to the table. We should all work together to solve some of our city’s biggest challenges.
- Briana Sim, Co-founder and COO, Radical I/O

Collectively, we have the ability to implement real change for our city - making it accessible to everyone. I don’t know if this will make us a “Smart City,” but I do know that it will make us a better city.

Connect with me if you'd like to collaborate on solving some of our city's biggest challenges. Together we can change the world.