Boyd Cohen: ‘The Smart City Wheel’

I have had the privilege of living in some of the great cities in the Western hemisphere since graduating from university in 1993. These include Atlanta, Georgia; Boulder/Denver, Colorado; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Copenhagen, Denmark; Madrid, Spain; Santiago, Chile; and Vancouver, Canada. I love cities. Especially those full of culture, dynamic, with entrepreneurial energy and a close connection to nature.

I am excited to return to Amsterdam for the Smart City Event. I have not visited Amsterdam since I completed a semester of my master’s program at the Copenhagen Business School in 1995! As a researcher and consultant in the smart cities arena, I have of course been paying attention to the smart city developments in the city over the past several years.

The Smart City Wheel
Some of you may have seen the smart city rankings I conduct annually, utilizing the Smart City Wheel I developed last year.

The Smart City Wheel

Amsterdam, the 3rd smartest city in Europe
In the 2012 rankings for Europe published in Fast Company, Amsterdam was positioned as the 3rd smartest city in Europe. Given the length of time since I have been to Amsterdam, and my fascination with smart cities around the globe, I was of course honored to accept the invitation to be the chair for this year’s Smart City Event.

This year’s event will bring together political and business leaders from more than 20 EU cities as well as some leading cities from other parts of the globe including a few of my previous homes: Boulder, Colorado and Buenos Aires. As someone almost exclusively focused on smart cities for the past few years, you can imagine I have been to my share of conferences and events on the topic. What I am most excited about the Smart City Event (besides being able to return to Amsterdam as a smart city tourist) is the unique focus the event has on project implementation.

Instead of focusing on a lot of talking heads presenting just ideas, the Smart City Event utilizes technology (such as a apps for smart phones) and dialog through panels and real-time surveys of the participants to facilitate learning and collaboration. I am hopeful that the Smart City Event results in new insights into how cities and companies are successfully partnering to bring smart and sustainable projects to fruition in the EU and around the globe. And yes, I will most certainly revisit the recently renovated Van Gogh museum, hop on a bike and of course use the Amsterdam Metro.

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