The Spinoff: The business of smart city disruption

The Spinoff: The business of smart city disruption

How can private enterprise help local governments innovate? Mark Thomas reports from the World Cities Summit in Singapore.

Imagine you’re a mayor. Your city is growing faster than you can build the things you need to support the growth, or you’re shrinking and trying to incentivise new industry. Either way, you can’t get the funding you need. Core infrastructure needs replacing, new climate changes rules will make business-as-usual more expensive, you’re being sued for limiting free speech and of course, there’s the traffic. You’re being forced by the government or your staff to consider petrol taxes, environment charges, tourist fees, maybe even a loo levy.

The biennial World Cities Summit (WCS), recently concluded in Singapore, promised answers to these issues and more. 24,000 participants, 130 mayors and city representatives and 100 industry leaders spent four days considering how to build more livable and sustainable cities. Wellington’s mayor Justin Lester was the sole New Zealand city or government representative.

City disruption is underway

How cities should use ‘disruptive innovation’ to deal with cities challenges was the first item on the agenda of day one’s Mayors’ Forum. Professor Greg Clark – a global city expert, chair of the London-based Business of Cities enterprise and a former key Auckland Council advisor – did his usual first class job for wrangling (and time-limiting) the 130 civic leaders sitting together in an enormous council chamber-style setting. Read the full story here.