Last week I attended the 20th annual Rocky Mountain Land Land Use Institute conference at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Nicola Villa with Cisco was the Keynote Speaker on Friday morning. Mr. Villa works with the Connected Urban Development (“CUD”) program across the world in cities like Amsterdam, San Francisco and Seoul.
Launched in 2006, CUD was born out of the the Clinton Global initiative intended to help lower carbon emissions across the world. CUD’s goal of reduced carbon emission is achieved through high connectivity – broadband, wireless and “smart urban structures.” CUD works by changing how cities deliver services, how residents work and commute and how real estate resources are used and managed.
CUD continues to evolve. Last year, the next phase of the CUD was announced at the Shanghai World Expo. It’s called SMART 2020: Cities and Regions. The program is administered by a non-governmental organization and seeks to help cities collaborate with each other and the business community to develop a global industry platform for information technology in the sustainable city.
At least 12 successful pilot projects in participating cities have demonstrated CUD’s potential. One important pilot project that could have far reaching implications for urban development is called the Smart Work Center (“SWC”). SWCs are structures located in residential areas that offer a highly connected professional work environment. These centers are equipped with networking technology and collaboration tools, which allow users to connect to colleagues and customers. Users from many different organizations share the SWC’s resources. This type of office sharing arrangement could reduce the need for centralized offices and other development in the heart of downtown areas in participating CUD cities.