Smart Cities Podcast

Posted on Jan 4, 2015 In Audio Education & Training Latest Updates

Here’s an audio recording of Dr. Martin P. Doble speaking at a smart cities workshop co-hosted by McMaster University Engineering and the City of Hamilton on November 18, 2014.

Dr. Doble is the global managing director, Infrastructure, Hatch Ltd. and a local resident committed to the Hamilton community.

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Hatch supplies engineering, project and construction management services, process and business consulting and operational services to the mining, metallurgical, energy and infrastructure industries. The company has a long and rich history of involvement with McMaster University.

The workshop was facilitated by Dr. Ishwar Puri, dean of the Faculty of Engineering, McMaster University and Dr. John Preston, associate dean, Research and External Affairs, McMaster University. It is among a growing number of initiatives to engage McMaster faculty, students and staff in advancing key city building priorities identified by the City of Hamilton, including goods movement, foreign direct investment, asset management and the utilization of big data. Other key university leaders also participated, along with senior city staff led by city manager Chris Murray, and representatives from the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and the broader community.

Dr. Doble’s presentation drew on input from Hatch colleagues worldwide and focused on the future of cities from an international perspective. It included a number of key messages of strategic importance to Hamilton at this time:

Quality of Life: Smart city plans around the globe boil down to enhancing the quality of life for local citizens. The definition of quality of life varies community to community. What quality of life measures do Hamiltonians most value? A City-led citizen engagement campaign timed for 2015 will help answer this question.

Supply Chains: Hamilton must see itself functioning within economic and social supply chains that link cities and city regions worldwide. “Investment follows global trade patterns,” said Doble.

Connections: Cities of the future must be interconnected through a variety of high speed regional and global corridors that enable the movement of goods, people and digital content – e.g., data.  In Canada, said Doble, particular attention needs to be placed on the efficient movement of natural resources and bulk goods.

Competitiveness: “Whether we like it or not,” said Doble, Hamilton is competing with other cities/communities for a share of talent and investment needed to fuel and finance economic and social development and redevelopment.

Money: “Smart cities need smart money – we can’t do anything if we can’t pay for it,” he said. This is highly relevant to Hamilton as we search for new ways to generate more revenue – particularly from engagements with the private sector – required to create modern infrastructure needed to succeed in a highly competitive economy.

Productivity: To generate wealth needed to fund infrastructure renewal, Hamilton (similar to all communities worldwide) needs to focus on improved productivity – i.e., the more efficient use of labour, captial and infrastructure.

Specialization: Each city needs to select an area(s) of specialization – ideally tied to future growth opportunities in the global economy – in order to create a competitive/comparative advantage. What is Hamilton’s specialized economic advantage moving forward?

Heritage: According to Doble, cities of the future need to “cherish” their local heritage. Hamilton has a unique opportunity to generate economic and social value from preserving its heritage buildings and cultural landscapes.

Visionary Leadership: Achieving a desired state requires future-oriented leadership capable of engaging the community on a journey of change – incremental, evolutionary and disruptive.

To learn more about McMaster University’s “Cities of the Future” initiative with the City of Hamilton and next steps, contact Ms Terry Milson, milsont@mcmaster.ca, 905-525-9140 x 27391.

LISTEN NOW to DR. DOBLE

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