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Smart Cities

12-05-2014 07:29 PM CET | Energy & Environment

Press release from: German Center for Research and Innovation

By 2050, the world's population is expected to reach nine billion, with over two thirds of people living in cities. On Tuesday, December 9, ICT and sustainability experts will convene at the German Center for Research and Innovation (GCRI) in New York to discuss future solutions for urban systems.

NEW YORK (December 3, 2014) – Urbanization, globalization, demographic and climate change are continually placing higher demands on our cities. How will cities of the future address the challenges associated with such a significant population increase? How can energy, transportation, and human resources be more efficiently managed, and to what extent will smart cities develop innovative energy storage concepts that meet the demands of net stability? On Tuesday, December 9, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., join expert panelists at the German Center for Research and Innovation in New York as they discuss the prospects offered by smart mobility and smart buildings, and the potential effects these changes will have on the environment and society.

Prof. Dr. Barbara Lenz, Director of the Institute of Transport Research at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Professor of Transport Geography at the Geographical Institute at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, will speak on the panel about smart mobility. She will draw upon her research expertise concerning ICT use and its impact on travel behavior as well as mobility management measures and their acceptance by individuals. She will discuss how in recent years, transportation in cities has been rapidly undergoing changes triggered by the coordination and integration of ICT – a process that is at the very heart of the smart city concept. Prof. Dr. Lenz will highlight recent developments in mobility, such as the increased popularity of commercial sharing systems over the last three to four years as well as other new, unconventional transportation services like Uber and Lyft in the U.S. and Autonetzer in Germany. Lastly, she will emphasize how cities cannot become “smart” on their own; they require both the acceptance and enthusiasm from their citizens regarding the optimization and integration of new technologies.

William Sisson, Director of Sustainability for United Technologies Research Center (UTRC), will present on smart buildings in smart cities. He will discuss how urban centers are expected to continue to expand in both established and emerging markets. Accordingly, the world’s building stock will increase as well as renew to both attract and retain economic activity necessary to make these cities function. While buildings consume 40 percent of the world’s energy, in cities the proportion of energy use is even higher. Mr. Sisson will explain how it will be imperative that cities institute smart building practices and policies that motivate the complex building supply chain, including its developers and investors, to create energy-efficient and energy-aware buildings that are both effective producers and consumers of clean energy. He will also explain how smart and energy-efficient buildings will enable both energy consumption and distribution with utilities to maximize the effectiveness of fuel resources needed to energize them. Increased communications and data can be used to highlight energy performers and real-time access to determine system deficiencies and opportunities for managing efficient consumption. Mr. Sisson will address how smart buildings will be attractive for their occupants in terms of environmental quality, including comfort and lighting. This will ultimately help to stimulate needed market activity within the private sector in energy efficiency and enable greater energy productivity and sustainability of city occupants.

Mr. Sisson currently leads UTRC’s product sustainability efforts and also serves as UTRC's Liaison Delegate for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and as Co-chair of their Energy Efficiency in Buildings Project. Most recently, he served as Task Leader for Policy, Markets, and Behavior at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Innovation Hub on Energy Efficiency in Buildings in Philadelphia. He has worked for UTRC in a variety of technical and business leadership positions since 1985.

He will be joined by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jan Wörner, Chairman of the Executive Board for the German Aerospace Center (DLR), who also serves as Chairman of the European Space Agency (ESA) Council, Professor of Civil Engineering at the Technische Universität Darmstadt, and Vice President of the Helmholtz Association. Prof. Dr. Wörner was appointed to the energy expert group of the German government and to the advisory boards of several universities, including the Technische Universität Berlin and the Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon.

In his presentation, he will stress how research efforts always need to be able to answer the questions: “Why?”, “For what purpose?”, and “What is the benefit for society?” He will underline the importance of embedding research into the framework of international challenges, such as climate change, mobility, communication, and demographic shifts. Furthermore, he will explain how sustainable research needs to be based on a proactive process chain rather than on post-justification. Within this context, he will describe DLR’s dedicated chain of innovation and its various aspects of smart city-related research. Finally, he may touch upon the E.U.’s own “smart city” definition and its “European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities” program. He may also elaborate on the E.U.’s implementation strategy to achieve these objectives, namely, through the wide-reaching rollout of integrated, scalable, sustainable smart city solutions specifically in areas where energy production, distribution and use; mobility and transport; and information and communication technologies are intimately linked.

Dr. Joann Halpern, Director of the German Center for Research and Innovation (GCRI) in New York City, will moderate the discussion.

This panel will take place on Tuesday, December 9, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the German Center for Research and Innovation (871 United Nations Plaza, First Avenue, btw. 48th & 49th Streets). To RSVP by December 5, visit: http://form.jotformpro.com/form/43076374058963

Unable to attend? Follow @gcri_ny and the hashtag #SmartCities for live tweets. A video recording will be available on www.germaninnovation.org shortly after the event.

This event is co-sponsored by the German Center for Research and Innovation (GCRI) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

The German Center for Research and Innovation provides information and support for the realization of cooperative and collaborative projects between North America and Germany. With the goal of enhancing communication on the critical challenges of the 21st century, GCRI hosts a wide variety of events from lectures and exhibitions to workshops and science dinners. Opened in February 2010, GCRI was created as a cornerstone of the German government’s initiative to internationalize science and research and is one of five centers worldwide.

Jennifer Audet
Communications Officer
German Center for Research and Innovation
871 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017
1.212.339.8680 X302

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