Feb 15, 2019

Innovating the American Metropolis

Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) and Axios Managing Editor Kim Hart. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

Wednesday morning, Axios Managing Editor Kim Hart hosted a series of conversations exploring the role both the private and public sector play in creating cities of the future.

Why it matters: Smart cities are predicted to make America's urban centers cleaner, safer, faster, and more sustainable, but they also raise ethical questions around privacy and inequality. Kim sat down with industry leaders to unpack both of these realities.

Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Technology Association
Consumer Technology Association CEO Gary Shapiro and Axios Managing Editor Kim Hart. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

Shapiro discussed the importance of smart cities and the biggest trends he's seeing as they're starting to develop.

  • On why we need smart cities: "By 2050, two-thirds of the people in the world will live in cities and cities are already strained" and the best way to address this is with technology.
  • On 5G: "It is probably one of the pre-requisite installations required for smart cities."
  • On privacy: "Of course there are privacy implications [of smart cities] but we could put up guidelines and guardrails to protect our citizens while giving better service."
  • The biggest area of opportunity: "Transportation."
Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke
Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke and Axios Managing Editor Kim Hart. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

Mayor Berke spoke to the steps Chattanooga is taking to remain on the frontlines of smart city technology and innovation.

  • On Chattanooga’s city-owned fiber optic network: "It doesn’t miss any home or business … we’ve used it to build out the smartest, cheapest, most pervasive internet in the world."
  • On the 5G hype: "It’s difficult for us. Chattanooga is set up better for 5G because of our fiber backbone, but it's not going to reach some of our residents and we have to grapple with the policy implications of 5G, which we haven't done."
  • "It's not healthy for our country if the only places where innovation occur are New York, Silicon Valley, and Boston. A lot more places look like Chattanooga than look like that."

Go deeper: Chattanooga mayor says 5G hype is "difficult" for his city

Hicham Abdessamad, Hitachi Global Digital Holdings CEO
Hitachi Global Digital Holdings CEO Hicham Abdessamad and Axios Executive Vice President Evan Ryan. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

For our View From the Top segment, Axios Executive Vice President Evan Ryan interviewed Hitachi's Hicham Abdessamad about the role his company plays in bringing smart cities to life and the impact these cities will have on how we live.

  • How industries will be transformed: "It's not about rip and replace, it's about building a digital intelligent layer that will predict and provide better service to our citizens."
  • On whether smart cities will make people safer: "It's very certain. If you can deploy sensors around a city, we have access to thousands of cameras and with the help of A.I. and machine learning you can do deep analytics and make predictions."
  • Why smart city rollouts will take time: "You can't take a [smart city] blueprint and apply it across every city, because each one is different."
South Dakota Senator John Thune
Senator John Thune (R-SD). Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

Senator Thune (R-SD), who serves on the Senate Commerce Committee, gave his take on what the federal government needs to do to enable smart cities.

  • America's rating. "The U.S. is a solid B” in terms of having the infrastructure necessary to build smart cities: “But we could be an A,” especially with the right investment.
  • “Whoever wins the race to 5G will benefit enormously economically from that.” We at least need to have a federal government that works as a partner and works to ensure that type of technology has the opportunity to succeed.
New York Representative Yvette Clarke
Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) and Axios Managing Editor Kim Hart. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

Rep. Clarke, who is the co-chair of the Smart Cities Caucus, discussed the future she sees for New York City and the importance of spreading smart technology beyond cities like her own.

  • On whether New York is already a smart city: "I think it has the potential to be a smart city. When we talk about mobility, our city is grappling with an aging infrastructure ... If we invest wisely we can build out a 21st century subway system."
  • Clarifying the Smart "Cities" Caucus: "I call it smart cities / smart communities" so we can address the needs of rural communities that struggle to get broadband access.

Thank you Hitachi for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Biden says he's starting VP search this month

Joe Biden. Photo: Scott Olson / Staff

Joe Biden said he's spoken to Sen. Bernie Sanders and former President Barack Obama about selecting a running mate — and that he wants to build "a bench of younger, really qualified people" who can lead the nation over the course of the next four presidential cycles.

Driving the news: Biden spoke about the state of the 2020 race during a virtual fundraiser on Friday night that was opened to pooled coverage.

Trump ousting intelligence community inspector general

Michael Atkinson, inspector general of the intelligence community. Photo: Bill Clark / Getty Images

President Trump notified key lawmakers on Friday that he’s firing Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community's inspector general, who first alerted Congress last September of an "urgent" complaint from an official involving Trump's correspondence with the Ukrainian president.

Why it matters: The move, to take effect in 30 days, comes amid a broader initiative to purge the administration of officials seen as disloyal to the president.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Axios Visuals

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,097,909 — Total deaths: 59,131 — Total recoveries: 226,106Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 277,828 — Total deaths: 7,406 — Total recoveries: 9,772Map.
  3. Public health latest: The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The federal government will cover the costs of COVID-19 treatment for the uninsured, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.
  4. 2020 latest: "I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," President Trump said of the 2020 election, as more states hold primary elections by mail. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday that every county in the state opted to expand mail-in voting for the state's June 2 primary.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start. The DOT is urging airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights, but won't take action against airlines that provide vouchers or credits.
  6. Oil latest: The amount of gas American drivers are consuming dropped to levels not seen in more than 25 years, government data shows. Trump is calling on the Energy Department to find more places to store oil.
  7. Tech updates: Twitter will allow ads containing references to the coronavirus under certain use cases.
  8. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Senators call for independent investigation into firing of Navy captain.
  9. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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