As cities around the world face multiple challenges on social, economic and environmental fronts, governments must use innovative technologies and collaborate with businesses, universities and communities to facilitate sustainable urban development, said international experts at the Smart Cities Technologies Summit in Brampton on February 26.
The event, co-hosted by the City of Brampton and the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC), brought together experts from municipalities, tech companies and universities across Canada, and even Europe. Discussions centered on human mobility, data privacy and security, digital transformation networks, modernizing city services and civic innovation.
The summit took place within the context of how populations are rapidly rising in cities around the world. According to a recent UN report, 68 per cent of the global population will be living in cities by 2050, compared to 55 per cent today. This increase could place significant pressures on aging urban infrastructure, and unprecedented demands for food, water, energy, healthcare, transportation and security in cities.
Panelists also cautioned against the view that holds technology as the “be all, end all” for every urban problem. Smart City planners are required to integrate a variety of creative solutions that go beyond technology, such as inclusive community involvement and collaboration with the academic and business sectors.
The event comes at a time when Brampton is driving several projects that encourage innovation, technology and job creation.
These projects include partnering with Ryerson University to launch the Cybersecure Catalyst, a national centre for cybersecurity to promote training and certification, research and development, and commercial innovation in this growing field.
The city is also collaborating with Ryerson to launch an incubator space in downtown Brampton, designed to support both emerging startups and established businesses.
“It is fitting for Brampton – Canada’s second fastest growing and youngest city – to have co-hosted this summit with ITAC. The event comes at a time when exciting developments are taking place in Brampton, which reinforce Brampton’s claim as one of Canada’s fastest-emerging tech and innovation hubs. Our city has many of the components required to become one of the smartest urban destinations in the world, creating jobs,” said Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown.
Photo: Mayor Patrick Brown at the Smart Cities Technologies Summit in Brampton.