The smart city conferences to check out in 2019
There's a full slate of industry conferences ahead, featuring conversations with top public and private officials on the pressing issues facing cities.
The smart cities industry is rapidly evolving to include fresh ideas and unprecedented innovations, spreading into new, up-and-coming locations. With that growth comes an increase in the number of smart cities-related trade shows and conferences popping up. Smart Cities Dive has compiled a list of city-focused conferences in North America to consider attending in 2019.
Date: Jan. 8-11
Location: Las Vegas
As part of its 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) track, CES will spend three days discussing smart cities, including the technology, solutions and people in the sector. It will include discussions on transportation, energy, health, public safety, artificial intelligence (AI) and data analysis. There will also be almost 100 exhibitors on the exhibit hall floor.
Date: Jan. 22-24
With topics including smart grids, smart lighting, transportation, parking and IoT, the Smart Cities International Symposium and Exhibition in Chicago promises to have a packed agenda. It is hosted in a city known for its smart city leadership, and a bevy of expert speakers will share the experiences municipal governments who are leading the innovation charge.
Date: March 5-7
More than 700 private companies, city agencies and industry experts are expected to attend the National Shared Mobility Summit in March, touted as the "premiere shared-use mobility conference" for four years running. Hosted by the Shared-Use Mobility Center, the event encourages an environment of collaboration and enables attendees to share and discover new trends and innovations in the shared mobility space.
Date: March 8-11
Location: Austin, TX
Following its inaugural Cities Summit in 2018, SXSW has combined that track with its Government track to create the Cities, Government and Politics summit. Spread over three days in Austin, TX, sessions will include discussions on livable cities, civic engagement and privacy concerns.
Some sessions will even fall off the beaten path, including ones entitled "Generation Z Is Poised to Revolutionize Politics" and "Wombats & Wood Ducks: CIA’s Secrets to Creative Problem Solving."
SXSW has a history of assembling top speaker lists. Last year’s included London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who said governments are “sitting on their hands” while the technology revolution happens around them.
Date: March 10-12
Location: San Diego
New this year, the Connected Communities Collaborative is hosting CityLaunch in San Diego, touting a "unique hands-on event connecting innovators and forward-thinking cities." It promises to have sessions on digital equity and citizen engagement, 21st century mobility, inclusive economic development and more in an interactive format.
Date: April 1-4; Oct. 8-10
Location: Denver; National Harbor, MD
One of the premier events on the smart city conference calendar will return twice next year, as Smart Cities Connect descends on Denver in April and National Harbor, MD in October.
With a large exhibit hall and varied list of speakers and sessions, Smart Cities Connect has been notable in recent years for panel discussions on emerging technology such as blockchain, and has also served as a place for a call to action for cities to get smarter, or risk being left in a “digital Rust Belt.”
Date: April 15-17; Sept. 30-Oct. 2
Location: San Diego; Washington, DC
The Smart Cities Council will once again host two Smart Cities Week events next year, in San Diego in April and Washington, DC in late September.
The conference usually involves significant speeches from global players in the industry such as Intel, while it also prompts plenty of introspection from city leaders who have in the past explored how smart cities can improve and have reflected on their own journeys towards smartness.
Date: May 13-15
Location: New York City
With an impressive lineup of mayors and other government officials joined by leaders in the private sector, Smart Cities New York promises to have another packed agenda.
Last year’s conference was notable for remarks by the likes of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, as well as Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who reflected on the cyberattack that crippled her city just months after she took office.
Date: June 5-7
A three-day conference that “raises provocative questions about the influence of global cities,” the Chicago Forum on Global Cities has in the past looked to tackle cities’ roles in battling big issues including climate change, trade and immigration policies.
But the conference has also seen calls for more regional approaches to problems across metropolitan areas, so it has plenty to appeal to those who see cities as world leaders, as well as those who hope to see more regionalism.
Date: Nov. 14-16
Location: Los Angeles
A relatively new conference on the smart city scene, LA CoMotion brings together leaders in all forms of mobility including public transit, dockless and ride-hailing, and looks to wrestle with questions on how to solve urban congestion and get people around more easily.
Also notable at LA CoMotion is its Mobility Festival, which takes over some streets in downtown Los Angeles and gives both attendees and members of the public the opportunity to try out some of the new — and still under development — mobility options that are out there.
Date: Nov. 20-23
Location: San Antonio, TX
Hosted by the National League of Cities (NLC), the annual City Summit is a chance for local leaders from across the country to come together and discuss the big issues facing cities.
More than 3,800 mayors, elected leaders and others from all 50 states and Washington, DC convened in Los Angeles this year, with the shift to San Antonio, TX next year expected to help bring a fresh perspective.
Is there a missing conference or expo that you're excited for in 2019? Let us know at [email protected].
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