Technically Phily is often unable to make it to local events, so we’re asking readers interested in writing guest posts to contribute content, to ensure that, despite our schedules, more events can receive the coverage they deserve. If you’d like to write about an event you are attending, drop us a line.
This guest post, about last week’s IBM Smarter Cities event—keynoted by Mayor Michael Nutter—at the National Constitution Center, was written by Michael Rowinski of IBM External Relations.
This week Mayor Michael Nutter joined nearly 150 local academic, business and government leaders at the National Constitution Center to share ideas on how to revitalize the local economy, retain the viability of Philadelphia and the role technology will play in the city’s future.
Mayor Nutter noted for the first time in 60 years Philadelphia is showing signs of population growth. With this growth, civic leaders will face an unprecedented series of challenges, including news stresses on old infrastructures and a shift in the skills private industry is looking for. For example, IBM’s Eastern Region, General Manager, Phil Guido noted that the average Philadelphian commutes 32 minutes to work. With a growing population and stressed infrastructure he expects this commute to only grow longer.
How can Philadelphia turn this and other challenges into an opportunity? As the city undertakes projects to make aging buildings and transportation systems more efficient, and to transform public services such as education and social services, using new technologies to make them “smarter” also requires people with these new skill sets. The participants agreed that educating young people to be tech-savvy, creative thinkers with leadership skills to meet these challenge will be critical.
More important though will be creating an environment that will encourage these young people to stay local and apply these skills to the Philadelphia’s future. This will involve making the city a destination for skilled workers looking for a lifestyle in tune with their priorities. The Mayor’s GreenWorks Philadelphia plan to turn the city into the greenest city in America by 2015 is the type of initiative some participants pointed to as being a draw and a retainer of talent.
IBM encouraged the participants to join the global conversation taking place around the future of cities taking place as part of the Smarter Cities Scan.