Kaid Benfield Archive


Guest post: 'Meeting of the Minds' for resilient cities

Kaid Benfield

Posted September 27, 2011 at 1:35PM

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  Seattle (c2011 FK Benfield)

Today’s post is by Gordon Feller, co-founder and leader of Meeting of the Minds 2011, a conference on urban technology and resilience recently held in Boulder, Colorado.  Feller is employed by Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group, a conference co-sponsor.

Perhaps more than ever before, public sector leaders are concerned about their organizations’ ability to respond to new policy and service demands, budget reductions, and the need to engage new technology platforms for innovation and service delivery.

This scenario is further complicated by today’s uncertain and volatile socioeconomic environment, and by the growing imperative to make sense of the complex interplays that link natural ecosystems with the infrastructures that move our energy, people, goods, waste, and water.

Resilience has become priority No. 1 for the public sector—both in terms of coping with unexpected shocks (economic, natural, environmental), and in having the agility and capacity to anticipate and address the risks and opportunities that accompany big transitions and socioeconomic changes.

These challenges and opportunities were major themes at the Meeting of the Minds 2011 conference in Boulder, CO, September 22-23, 2011.  The conference attracted more than 200 leaders from the public, non-profit, and private sectors in a dozen countries to engage in lively discussions on how to “connect the dots” across key sectors: mobility, building systems, energy and water resources, and finance.  Participants explored a rich variety of smart design, planning, policy, and technology innovations that enable cities, regions, and nations to respond to increasingly difficult challenges.

Meeting of the Minds was sponsored by Toyota, with global co-sponsorship by Philips, Deutsche Bank, and Cisco.  A sampling of the conference’s wide-ranging agenda included a keynote on “The Future of Smart Cities: Connected, Sustainable and Resilient,” presented by Nicola Villa, a senior director of Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group, along with sessions on “Great Urban Design—A Radical Act that Can Transform Cities,” moderated by Bill Moggridge, director of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum; “New Urban Revitalization Strategies,” moderated by Relina Bulchandani, global lead of the Cisco IBSG Connected Real Estate Practice; and a keynote address by the office of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.

Additional sessions included “Changing Cities—Changing Cars,” moderated by Bill Reinert, US manager of advanced technology for Toyota; “Transforming Lighting/Physical Assets of the City—A Big Step on the Path to Sustainability,” moderated by Manuel Ooman, senior director of innovation alliances for Philips Lighting; and contributions from Cisco on topics including “The Resilient Society,” Urban Innovation, Connected Vehicles, and Work-Life Innovation.

Video recordings of all Meeting of the Minds 2011 sessions are available on this website.

Note by Kaid: Meeting of the Minds is further evidence that large, technology-based corporations see an enticing global market for products related to sustainability.  I visited the conference’s website and there are indeed many topics there that should interest regular readers of this blog.  Here’s the introductory video:


  Meeting of the Minds Intro from Regional Plan Association on Vimeo.

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