Smart City Expo kicks off in Barcelona with eye on post-Covid urban solutions
10th anniversary fair sees addition of new offshoots Tomorrow Mobility and Puzzle X
The tenth anniversary edition of the Smart City Expo World Congress kicked off on Tuesday morning, with representatives from 400 cities around the world coming together to share ideas on urban innovation and "to help create better, more inclusive cities."
Under the slogan 'We are the cities we make', from November 16 to 18 the congress will reflect on the transformation that cities are going through after the pandemic and the need for cities to adapt to the changing needs of their inhabitants.
For the first time, this year's Smart City Expo is a hybrid event, with a parallel digital program being broadcast by Tomorrow City, alongside the in-person congress, expo and side events taking place at Fira de Barcelona.
Other additions include two new offshoots: the first edition of Tomorrow Mobility, with a focus on promoting the design and use of new models of sustainable urban mobility, and the pilot edition of Puzzle X, which aims to harness the potential of advanced materials such as graphene to solve some of the challenges facing society.
Some of the standout innovative items on display this year are a prototype air taxi, a robot delivery vehicle and a hydrogen microlauncher.
The Innovation Zone is where many of these prototypes and new products can be found, including an electric garbage truck, a wheelchair powered by a hoverboard and a speed camera to improve cyclists' safety.
Catalonia's stand at the congress was inaugurated by vice president and digital policies minister Jordi Puigneró.
"Catalonia Green & Digital is a preview of what the Catalonia of the future must be: a digital nation empowered with a connected and decarbonized territory," Puigneró said.
"We need a Catalonia ready to respond to the great global challenges, present and future, which are the climate emergency and digitalization," he added.
Global cities and companies
International participants at the Smart City Expo include the mayors of Ankara, The Hague, Kazan, Medellín, Montevideo, Prague, Quito and Vilnius, as well as representatives from cities such as Amsterdam, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Frankfurt, Kiev, Milan, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, Sao Paolo, Santiago, Stockholm and Rio de Janeiro.
Some of the companies showcasing their latest products and technology include Abertis Mobility Solutions, Cisco, City Possible by Mastercard, FCC Environment, Huawei, Microsoft, Motorola, Seat, Smart Ports: Piers of the Future and Ubiwhere.
Speaking ahead of the event, the director of Smart City Expo World Congress, Ugo Valenti, said that "the 2021 edition, in the current international context, will surely be one of the most special editions. We will celebrate our tenth anniversary and we will do it reunited again with the whole urban innovation ecosystem."
Valenti added that "the past months have changed the priorities of most cities and it is time to reflect on these changes and address this new stage. We have always felt proud and privileged to contribute to the transformation of cities around the world, but now more than ever. "
The Smart City Expo World Congress runs from November 16-18 at the Fira de Barcelona in L'Hospitalet de Llobregat and online.