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Bits and Bricks: Future of Cities

Cities are undergoing a profound transformation: the convergence of digital information (bits) and physical environment (bricks). As virtual systems become spatialized – entering our world through the Internet of Things – no industry remains unaffected. From utilities to transportation, construction to environmental resilience, the 21st century condition presents new challenges… As well as new ...view more

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Introduction: Future of Cities

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Future of Cities: Naheed Nenshi

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Future of Cities: Anna Brogi

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Future of Cities: Anita Arjundas

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Future of Cities: Carlo Ratti

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Future of Cities: Kees Van Der Klauw

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Future of Cities: Jens Martin Skibsted

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Future of Cities: Assaf Biderman

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Future of Cities: Juan José Pocaterra

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Future of Cities: Gretchen Effgen

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Future of Cities: Joan Clos

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Future of Cities: Andrew Whittle

About the Presenters

Carlo Ratti

Professor of the Practice
Director, SENSEable City Lab
An architect and engineer by training, Carlo Ratti practices in Italy and teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he directs the Senseable City Lab. He graduated from the Politecnico di Torino and the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées in Paris, and later earned his MPhil and PhD at the University of Cambridge, UK. Ratti has co-authored over 200 publications and holds several patents. His work has been exhibited worldwide at venues such as the Venice Biennale, the Design Museum Barcelona, the Science Museum in London, GAFTA in San Francisco and The Museum of Modern Art in New York. His Digital Water Pavilion at the 2008 World Expo was hailed by Time Magazine as one of the Best Inventions of the Year. He has been included in Esquire Magazine’s Best and Brightest list, in Blueprint Magazine’s 25 People who will Change the World of Design and in Forbes Magazine’s People you need to know in 2011. Ratti was a presenter at TED 2011 and is serving as a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council for Urban Management. He is a regular contributor to the architecture magazine Domus and the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore. He has also written as an op-ed contributor for BBC, La Stampa, Scientific American and The New York Times.

Naheed Nenshi

Naheed Nenshi, A’paistootsiipsii, was sworn in as Calgary's 36th mayor on October 25, 2010 and was re-elected in 2013.
Prior to being elected, Mayor Nenshi was with McKinsey and Company, later forming his own business to help public, private and non-profit organizations grow. He designed policy for the Government of Alberta, helped create a Canadian strategy for The Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy, and worked with the United Nations to determine how business can help the poorest people on the planet. He then entered academia, where he was Canada's first tenured professor in the field of nonprofit management, at Mount Royal University's Bissett School of Business.
For his work, Mayor Nenshi was named a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, was awarded the President’s Award from the Canadian Institute of Planners for, and received the Humanitarian Award from the Canadian Psychological Association for his contributions to community mental health. In 2013, after his stewardship of the community during devastating flooding, Maclean’s magazine called him the second-most influential person in Canada (after the Prime Minister). He was awarded the 2014 World Mayor Prize by the UK-based City Mayor’s Foundation as the best mayor in the world.
Mayor Nenshi holds a Master in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he studied as a Kennedy Fellow.

Anna Brogi

Senior Vice President, ENEL Group
From 2003, Anna Brogi was responsible for the analysis and improvement of the network management processes, operational excellence, quality, safety and the environment of Enel Distribuzione. She was also responsible for the development and coordination of Smart City projects of Enel Group and has been involved in various working groups at the national level (Confindustria) and European (Smart Cities Stakeholder Platform) for Smart City. Since April 2011, Anna Brogi has been a member of the Board of Directors of Enel Distribuzione S.P.A.

Anita Arjundas

Managing Director & CEO, Mahindra Lifespaces, President - Real Estate Sector

Leading the Group’s contributions to greener homes and sustainable urbanization is Anita, who serves as CEO of the Real Estate Sector and as MD of Mahindra Lifespace Developers Ltd. (MLDL). Her innovative leadership has seen the Group make bold strides in our commitment to a better urban lifestyle.
Anita joined Mahindra in 2002 as the Vice President of Marketing for Mahindra World City, was appointed the COO of MLDL in 2006, and took on her present roles in 2009. She is a member of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Real Estate Council, Asia Society, and the Developer’s Committee of the Export Promotion Council for Export-Oriented Units and Special Economic Zones (EPCES).
Apart from the recognition she receives for her work in creating sustainable living, she has received the Women in Leadership Award from the WILL Forum India in 2009, for driving gender equality in the workplace. In 2012, she received the Woman Achiever of the Year award at Construction Week India. The following year, NDTV Property Awards recognized her work with the Outstanding Woman CEO award.
Anita earned her MBA from the Bharatidasan Institute of Management, Tiruchirappalli. She currently lives in Mumbai, and is passionate about wildlife and nature-related travel

Andrew Whittle

Dr. Whittle joined the MIT faculty as an Assistant Professor in 1988, became a Full Professor in 2000 and has served as the Head of the MIT's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2009-2013. He is an expert in geotechnical engineering, whose research deals principally with formulation of constitutive models for representing the complex mechanical properties of soils and their application in predicting the performance of foundations and underground construction projects. Most recently he has led research efforts in the application of wireless sensor networks for monitoring underground water distribution systems and construction projects.
Dr. Whittle is a Co-Editor of the "International Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics" (since 1999). He has also served on a series of major review panels: for the National Research Council and National Academy of Engineering (NRC/NAE) investigating the performance of hurricane protection systems in New Orleans; for the Governor of Massachusetts on a 'stem-to-stern' safety review of the Big Dig tunnels in Boston; for the Chief Executive of Hong Kong investigating the delay in the works of the Hong- Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express rail link (XRL); and as a member of the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (2009-2015). Dr. Whittle has published more than 190 papers in refereed journals and conferences, and received several awards for his work from the American Society of Civil Engineers, including the Casagrande Award (1994), the Croes Medal (1994), Middlebrooks Prize (1997, 2002, and 2005) and Huber Research Award (1998). He is a licensed professional engineer in New York State. In 2010 he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

Kees van der Klauw

CEO, Superpedestrian
Assaf Biderman is teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he is the Associate Director of the SENSEable City Laboratory, an MIT research group that explores the “real-time city” by studying the increasing deployment of sensors and networked hand-held electronics, and their relationship to the built environment. Biderman has background in physics and human-computer interaction. He focuses on working in partnership with city administrations and industry members worldwide to explore how distributed technologies can be used to improve our understanding of cities and create a more sustainable future living in urban environments.
Recently, the group mapped the real-time movement of thousands of trash items in Seattle. Community members in the city were given active location tags, which they attached to their waste prior to disposal. In preparation for the 2009 UN Summit on Climate change, the group is developing a hybrid bicycle wheels with environmental sensors for the City of Copenhagen.

Jens Martin Skibsted

Chairman of The Danish Design Council, Founder and Creative Director of Biomega
Jens Martin Skibsted is the founder of design driven companies including the bicycle company Biomega. He is the vice-chair of Davos’s think tank on design innovation. In 2009, he co-founded the product design super-group KiBiSi with Lars Larsen and Bjarke Ingels. KiBiSi and Skibsted Ideation create products and concepts that evolve from a brand rather than a designer’s form and formula."

Assaf Biderman

CEO, Superpedestrian
Assaf Biderman is teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he is the Associate Director of the SENSEable City Laboratory, an MIT research group that explores the “real-time city” by studying the increasing deployment of sensors and networked hand-held electronics, and their relationship to the built environment.

Biderman has background in physics and human-computer interaction. He focuses on working in partnership with city administrations and industry members worldwide to explore how distributed technologies can be used to improve our understanding of cities and create a more sustainable future living in urban environments.

Recently, the group mapped the real-time movement of thousands of trash items in Seattle. Community members in the city were given active location tags, which they attached to their waste prior to disposal. In preparation for the 2009 UN Summit on Climate change, the group is developing a hybrid bicycle wheels with environmental sensors for the City of Copenhagen.

Juan José Pocaterra

Degrees in Managerial Economics and Corporate Law, Universidad Metropolitana. Co-Founder and Business Director, ViKua. Advisory Board Member, Future of Urban Development Initiative, World Bank and World Economic Forum. Global Shaper and 2014-2015 Curator, Caracas Hub, World Economic Forum. Venezuelan Ambassador to One Young World Summit. Published theses in the fields of microfinance and in carbon finance mechanisms for intelligent transport systems in Venezuela. Interests: business development, technology entrepreneurship, smart city and urban development, and public-private partnerships.

Gretchen Effgen

Gretchen Effgen is Executive Vice President of Freight Farms, the world's first app-enabled hydroponic farming system and a leader in ag-tech. Gretchen leads strategic projects to bring Freight Farms’ local farming platform global. A member of the World Economic Forum's Global Advisory Council on the Future of Cities, Gretchen is actively involved in the evolution of our urban environments. She brings key perspectives on the intersection of food resiliency and transportation in cities, drawing on expertise honed during her tenure at Zipcar, where she held leadership roles in Business Development and Strategy. Prior to Zipcar, Gretchen consulted to high-growth businesses on global market entry strategies. She started her career in Washington, DC as an international trade advisor to foreign governments.

Joan Clos

Dr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-Habitat Dr. Joan Clos is the Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), at the level of Under Secretary General by the United Nations General Assembly. He has held this office since October 2010. Born in Barcelona on 29 June 1949, he is a medical doctor with a distinguished career in public service and diplomacy. He was twice elected Mayor of Barcelona, serving two terms from 1997 until 2006. He was Minister of Industry, Tourism, and Trade of Spain between 2006 and 2008. Prior to joining the United Nations, he served as the Spanish Ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan. He is a medicine graduate from the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB), and specialized in Public Health and Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh (Scotland). Dr. Joan Clos then joined the Barcelona Municipal Government as the Director of Public Health in 1979.
From 1990 to 1994, he was the Deputy Mayor in charge of finance and budgeting, playing a key role in preparations for the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.Dr. Clos received a number of awards, including a gold medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1999 for transforming Barcelona. In 2002, he won the UN-Habitat Scroll of Honor Award for encouraging global cooperation between local authorities and the United Nations.