“The Future of Smart Cities”, The first thematic conference, organised by the Business Club Belgium-Luxembourg

De gauche à droite: Rik Vandenberghe, Davor Meersman, Tatiana Fabeck, Céline Vanderborght, Jacques Heynen, SEMme Arlette Conzemius, Christophe Hansen

Rik Vandenberghe, CEO of Besix Group and President of the BCBL started his welcome speech by commenting that: “In a world facing major human, economic, environmental and technological changes, Smart Cities are not a topic for the future anymore, it’s a reality today and thus it is crucial to take the time to reflect on its challenges and opportunities, and on the contribution each of us can make in this major urban evolution.”

A series of experts and scientists helped shed light on the subject of Smart Cities from a variety of different angles. Jacques Heynen, CEO at TomorrowLab talked about innovation efforts with a clear vision of the future, and focused his presentation on the incredible speed of change, stressing that major innovations will in a not so distant future change the way people live in cities forever. Tatiana Fabeck, Architect and Founder at Fabeck Architectes presented the architectural aspects of smart cities and spoke about a series of projects she is developing in Luxembourg, such as the very noted  “Vivre sans voiture” (Living without a car)  aimed at designing housing without garages or parking spaces in the Limpertsberg district of Luxembourg City. Céline Vanderborght, Smart City Manager, Brussels Region showcased concrete examples of initiatives towards a smart city in the Brussels region. Further to her experience as an eGovernment Manager, she is increasing awareness of and promoting Smart City projects in Brussels, paying special attention to the topics of Open Data, data governance and citizen participation. Furthermore Mrs. Vanderborght underlined that the Brussels region found a lot of helpful inspiration in Digital Luxembourg.  Dr. Davor Meersman presented the Open and Agile Smart Cities network of 104 cities from around the world and which focuses on creating a global city data and services marketplace that allows smart city solutions to be developed and deployed in all its member cities. Luxembourg is hoping to be become a member of this network soon.

Smart Cities is a very global term defining the shift of urban areas all around the world towards increased electronic data collection in order to better manage assets and resources. It relates to everything urban-related: water, electricity, waste management, information systems, law enforcement, buildings and infrastructure, governance and politics, the educational and health systems, etc. There is no doubt Smart Cities are mobilizing a wide variety of sectors, businesses and experts in order to fully achieve very ambitious goals and face colossal challenges.

The event impressively demonstrated how the different areas of the topic of Smart Cities are rapidly advancing, enabling new possibilities not only for visualization but also for planning and design, never forgetting to put in the center of considerations, the people which make up the urban population and for whom these innovations are intended.

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