March 3, 2014
I am a manager at Siemens' U.S. Center of Competence for Cities, where I analyze the economic and environmental impacts of infrastructure on cities. I am currently managing the roll-out of an infrastructure quantification tool in two U.S. pilot cities, and I also work on Siemens' strategic partnerships with the C40 and the World Bank, among others. Both responsibilities build on the work I did at Siemens' Global Centre of Competence for Cities in London.
All of my projects are aimed at improving cities! Siemens is one of those rare companies that thinks about sustainability holistically, and is actively trying to partner with the public sector, especially at the local level, on long-term, strategic projects that have comprehensive development as an aim.
Where do I begin? I'll mention just three of the urban innovations I think are game changers in metropolitan development. The first is the mobile phone: mobile phones can be used for almost anything - payment for public transit, an outlet for displaying public discontent, etc. - and innovators continue to push the boundaries of how they can be used to give and receive public services in cities. I am impressed. The second is public bikeshare. I know bikeshare isn't a new concept, but I find that this particular generation of bikeshares (and probably even more so with the next) is able to used in both the developed and developing world, in part because bikeshare companies are better at analyzing where stations and bikes need to be. The third innovation is start-up incubators/accelerators. Again, clusters are not unknown phenomenon, but in places like London, start-up incubators located in tech districts have been extremely successful in encouraging innovation in the city.
I recently moved to DC after spending the past year and a half studying and working urban development in London. Although I'll miss London's windy streets and secret spots, I'm excited to meet other urbanites in DC.