MIAMI, Fla. (February 24, 2017)—The inaugural Smart Cities Miami Conference, hosted last week by the School of Architecture and the Center for Computational Science (“CCS”), brought industry visionaries, technology experts, government planners, and the public together to focus on the “disruptive power” that the mobilization of new technology will have in our cities and on our lives.
“We are at the threshold of significant transformations in the urban environment provoked by new services and practices that mobilize emerging technology,’’ Rodolphe el-Khoury, dean of the School of Architecture said in kicking off the conference held February 23 and 24 in the Miami Design District’s Moore Building. “These disruptive powers, along with more radical disruptions are sure to change the ways we imagine, shape, inhabit, use, enjoy, manage, and govern the urban realm.”
Added Nick Tsinoremas, director of the Center for Computational Science (CCS), “We live in unprecedented times where technology transforms the way we live and interact with the city. This conference is our first attempt to bring together all the stakeholders—government, industry, academic institutions, and the public—to engage in discussions to understand and shape these transformational forces.”
The forum for cutting-edge research and interdisciplinary perspectives was designed to connect UM and the larger community of entrepreneurs and innovators who are rapidly reinventing Miami as an incubator for tech start-ups with the development and planning agencies in the public and private sectors who are guiding the evolution of one of the fastest-growing cities in North America.
The keynote speaker, Antoine Picon, the director of research at Harvard Graduate School of Design and an expert on the Smart City phenomenon, talked extensively about the changes brought to cities and architecture by digital tools and digital culture as well as the need for technology to embrace sociocultural issues. He emphasized that the city of the future will combine human with artificial intelligence and that from this, a new awareness will arise.
In an interdisciplinary collaboration, Joel Zysman, CCS’s director of Advanced Computing, and Jean-Pierre Bardet, dean of the College of Engineering, led discussions about transformation through datafication, environmentally sustainable technologies, innovation, artificial intelligence, and the best uses of technology solutions.
The School of Architecture’s RAD-UM Lab and several technology companies also shared their demos and start-up innovations, showcasing mixed-use building blocks for a smart city environment. (Exhibitors included: Woosh Water, The Underline, Blackdove Art Gallery, the Miami Affordability Project (“MAP”), TesserRx, Gridics, Zenciti Yucatán, UM CCS Software Engineering, and Code for Miami.)
During the second day of the conference, a Zenciti Workshop, a multidisciplinary team led by Dean el-Khoury examined and discussed a project for a smart city, designed from the ground up on a site in Mexico’s Yucatan, just outside Merida. Zenciti will illustrate a customized city on a unified platform, serving as a prototype of the future.
As Picon suggested, every city, even if not yet identified as a “smart city,” needs a plan.