The vibrant SMART City conversation has began yesterday at the Propella Incubator in South End. Executive Mayor Athol Trollip, representing government, together with recognised business, academic and civil society partners united to find a tangible way forward to realise the vision of Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) as a SMART City.
Michael Jackson, well-known global strategist and change expert, facilitated this opening conversation. He designed this interactive session with the Propella management team, Bev Hancock from the Kamva Leadership Institute and Wendy McCullum from the Regional Innovation Forum (RIF).
What emerged from this meeting was a resounding ‘YES’ to the SMART City concept and a firm commitment to continue and expand the conversation. The ultimate goal is to create a safer, healthier, cleaner and connected city, positioning NMB as an investment destination to benefit all its citizens.
“We explored the current strategies and projects already in existence. We considered those who can both contribute and benefit the city. We brainstormed various possibilities – what would NMB look like as a SMART City and by when would it be operational – a dream with a deadline. Lastly, what contributions do we need from ourselves and others to make this a reality?” said Bev Hancock, Managing Director of Kamva.
Success for a Smart City is incumbent upon:
- Connectivity and collaboration is key to implementing a SMART City. This strategic conversation, which started today, needs to be taken to a wider audience – finding out what our diverse communities think, feel and need from a SMART City.
- Political will – There is strong political will to support the conversation. The Executive Mayor expressed his full support. He is very excited about the concept.
- Consistency – There was unanimous agreement that the group need to meet consistently to build a clear strategy based on sound research, community engagement and a spirit of co-creation.
- Focus areas include communication, energy, education, transport, crime prevention, tourism.
- Internet access – Free city-wide Wi-Fi, with effective and collaborative use of data, is the first step in making our SMART City a reality.
- City vision – The SMART City concept needs to be connected with the vision of the city.
“Participating in this morning’s Smart City workshop was most definitely a step in the right direction. This is specifically true regarding the collaboration and coordination of all the efforts currently happening within NMB in alignment with this vision. I certainly hope that this process will be supported by the requisite institutional arrangements, driven with haste to ensure the vision of a connected city is realised,” said Kevin Hustler, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber.
“I was privileged to be part of this conversation today. I was excited to hear how enthusiastic the attendees – all of us proudly NMB citizens – were about collaborating and sharing the vision of a Smart City concept for this Metro! From a Businesswomen’s Association and Project NMB point of view, we are eager to get involved – showcasing good citizenship to achieve an end result that benefits all!” said Michelle Brown, Project NMB and Chairperson of the Businesswomen’s Association branch in the city.
The attendees unanimously agreed to network, share, listen, grow and co-create this initiative, making NMB one of SA’s leading SMARTER hubs! The RIF was tasked with coordinating the way forward for a SMART roadmap for NMB, with the input of all stakeholders.
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Article source: http://mype.co.za/new/talking-about-a-smart-city/85247/2017/03