Ideas are flowing, capital is primed and technology is awaiting deployment. Our ambitious targets around zero carbon, zero waste and water positive are real, and are awaiting activation. These outcomes are achievable, and indeed aligned with growth, and consumption (I see you Portland, Oregon![ii]).
The long list of technical and political challenges grows for both the circular economy and smart cities agendas, however, in the true spirit of the collective impact model of growth, a shared vision and mutually reinforcing actions become the key driver of success.
We will evolve our policy environment in a way that not only attracts the decoupling of growth from environmental impact, but the smart cities movement will be a key accelerator.
The smart cities movement will be a catalyst for the circular economy, helping accelerate the innovative solutions we so desperately want to deploy, but that are always denied. Denied by the system, by perceived risk, by entrenched politics (big P and small p), conservative leadership, and by our lack of urgency.
False-start game changers have no place in our dialogue. We will crush incremental boldness and champion a circular economy driven by the necessary sustainability targets we have created through the planning system, our development specifications, and those targets we have embraced as the consumer.
In 2017, we will knit together these two critical conversations and movements, along with other key frameworks – such as the resilient cities movement and shareable cities movement. We will share. We will work together, united by a common agenda and a resolve to create a joint approach to solving these complex challenges.
You see, we all want the same thing, and we neither have the luxury of time nor the capacity to resolve these issues on our own. It’s called collective impact.
We are building a smart cities movement. Join us.
[i] Advancing Smart and Sustainable Cities: Cities on Smart City Technology - Six Strategies for City Deployment. Urban Sustainability Directors Network, 2015
[ii] Local carbon emissions in Portland OR have dropped by 14 percent since 1990 (a reduction of approximately 35 percent per person), whilst at the same time experiencing a population increase of 31 percent and growth in jobs of 20 percent. Portland Climate Action Plan Summary 2015 https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/531994