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Beyond the Hype: Smart Regions & Economic Development

For cities—and regions and states, for that matter—becoming and remaining globally competitive has become a process of continuous improvement.

Today, change is the only constant and economic competitiveness has truly become a race with no finish line.

This somewhat daunting reality presents both great opportunities and great challenges, and it is underpinned by a fundamental shift in human behavior: Whereas educated people in the past primarily moved to find work, they now primarily move to desirable communities with a high quality of life.

This new paradigm forces employers to chase talented people and that makes protecting and enhancing quality of life—the user experience of a given region—core to any economic development effort.

Seemingly intractable challenges to maintaining quality of life related to transportation, mobility, public health, public safety, resilience, sustainability and affordability require that each of us and our organizations adopt new processes, approaches and ways of thinking.
One vital set of tools in this effort is the deployment of smart cities policies, practices and technologies. The potential of smart cities or smart regions is to enable us all to live, work and play more efficiently in a future increasingly shaped by complex challenges.

While we can’t halt the global forces impacting our quality of life, we can control how we respond to them. In this new era, characterized by economic uncertainty and intensifying international competition, those regions and leaders who establish a clear vision and take decisive action to bring it to reality will shape the global future.

Those who do not lead risk becoming mere observers, left to simply respond to those who do.

The Colorado Smart Cities Symposium

Thankfully, it is in our DNA in Colorado to act boldly. The quality of life we experience today is the shared success of decades of visionary, collaborative and proactive civic leadership from all sectors of our community. From elected officials and career civil servants to non-profit, business and development executives, the region continues to harness the strengths of its world class leadership and culture of collaboration.

On September 18th at the McNichols Building in Denver’s Civic Center Park, Colorado’s public, private, academic and research leaders will come together at the Colorado Smart Cities Symposium, organized by the Colorado Technology Association and presented by Arrow Electronics, to explore new tools to meet these challenges and opportunities, including innovative policies, programs, technologies and place-based planning and design efforts. These allies and others will announce powerful new partnerships and the creation of new civic infrastructure that we hope will facilitate Colorado’s rise to national prominence as a leading center for the development of smart cities and smart regions.

This is an exciting and important time. Today’s technologies permit us today to listen to the built environment as closely as we listen to the natural environment or the human body. What we’re hearing is a set of problems and challenges that go beyond our cities’ abilities to solve them independently. These difficult challenges require bold thinking, often leading to solutions that cross jurisdictional boundaries and may be politically complex.

This level of complexity—and the multi-stakeholder collaboration it requires—is the reason we at Denver South Economic Development Partnership co-founded the Colorado Smart Cities Alliance one year ago. And it’s the reason why in that one short year we’ve been able to assemble a remarkable statewide, multi-jurisdictional network of public, private and academic sector leaders who are committed to accelerating the adoption of smart cities technologies, projects and initiatives in their respective communities.

This network will be on full display on September 18th and we hope you’ll join us as we co-create Colorado’s great future, at the Symposium and beyond.

Please learn more about these organizations by visiting their websites!
The Colorado Smart Cities Symposium
Learn more about the Colorado Smart Cities Alliance

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