From Industrial Zones to Innovation Zones – How Europe Is Leading the Way
Amsterdam and Barcelona are both experimenting with new governance and economic models to create sustainable urban neighborhood developments, bringing together partners focused on reusing and transforming older industrial zones, and creating smarter technologies that power holistic solutions which improve municipal service delivery. Two of the innovators leading these bold initiatives will reveal some of the tools that have proven to be crucial when launching, implementing and sustaining such projects.
- Moderator: Nicola Villa, Senior Director – Cisco Systems (Amsterdam)
- Manel Sanromá, CIO of Barcelona, Barcelona City Government (Catalunya)
- Carolien Gehrels, Vice Mayor of Amsterdam (via TelePresence from Europe)
- Chris Vein, Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer for Government Innovation
Introduction by Gordon Feller
Let me ask you to think through now the future of cities, not just at the metal level but at the ground level. We have a panel who I’ll ask to come up here while I tell you about the moderator. Nicola Villa is an Italian by birth −northern Italian, by the way, near Lake Como− who is based in Amsterdam for many years −more than 10, I think− speaks too many languages to list, is the Managing Director for Global Public Sector in the Internet Business Solutions Group at Cisco Systems. He spends a lot of his time in KLM. I think traveling on that one flight, they know him all too well. He’s going to introduce to you some of the people that we’ve asked to join us, including one from Amsterdam. So gentlemen, take a seat. Take the microphone behind you. We have Carolien joining us. Good evening, Carolien. I’ll ask Nic to take charge.
Perfect. Gordon. Thank you very much. Good morning, everybody. Good evening, Carolien, from Amsterdam. First of all, it’s a pleasure to be here. Every time I come to San Francisco, I feel at home. With me, we have a very esteemed panel of experts who represent basically the central government policy point-of-view, the technology leadership and the political leadership at the local levels. So we have a good mix of knowledge and expertise and perspective that we’re going to bring to the discussion.
Before I introduce the speakers, this morning I was thinking about the challenge that we have for the next 40 minutes which is about thinking about the cities of the future. It’s a bit of an esoteric question that I had in my mind. For those of you who know me, I’m really about 2 things: history and food. To think about the cities of the future, I went back to when the cities were born 3,000 years ago. I thought about how cities and why cities were born. One of the theories and one of the elements which is usually would come to our attention is the birth of the cities on a number of delta rivers which we call water networks today in Egypt, Mesopotamia and India. One of the reasons why people congregate is an economic reason which is going to be the topic of the day. The idea 3,000 years ago is a number of technology revolutions at the time allowed overproduction of agriculture products for people that are basically living a nomad life. The moment those people had more products and more wealth in their hands than they actually needed, they started to think about 3 major needs and issues that we’re still facing today. The first issue was to basically trade or exchange those goods. They started to use these water networks, those delta rivers. The second need was to communicate and negotiate the price of what you need to trade. The third need was to defend that surplus and therefore, create walls around cities. In many ways, I always see this, as an Italian, as the way cities were born.
Over the last 3,000 years, a number of other networks were overlaid on top of the original one. You had road and transportation networks. You had water and sanitation networks. You had buildings and grids of buildings being created. A hundred years ago, the term urbanism was created by Cerda, a famous urban planner and architect in Barcelona. So networks were overlaid on top of each other like electricity, energy network and so on. What came out of the overlaying was a mix of great cities, sustainable lifestyles and sustainable urban shapes. I’m looking at my own country in Italy and the Florentine renaissance life there. You also saw the distortion of some of the cities and some of the ways we live. It’s happening in North America, now happening in China and other parts of Europe – social alienation, traffic, pollution and so on. We kind of got carried away with the idea of our cities becoming a network and sustainable.
One of the good news that we keep looking at from a Cisco perspective is the emergence of a new network in the last 20 years which is the internet. We see this as an opportunity not only about making other networks more sustainable and more efficient so that grids become smart, transportation is becoming intelligent, buildings become connected and sustainable, but to us this network, this new infrastructure is also allowing us to rethink the way cities are being shaped and designed from a community point-of-view, not only from an urban planning perspective, but also from a social and economic point-of-view.
So the question today that we need to think about is how does this new network, this new infrastructure, this new paradigm allow us to rethink the way we basically design and run sustainable communities from an innovation and economic development point-of-view.
So we meet today and we have 3 panelists. First of all in order of appearance, Manel Sanromá who is the Chief Information Officer of the city of Barcelona. We then have Carolien Gehrels who is the Vice-Mayor and Alderperson of the city of Amsterdam in charge of a number of portfolio activities, including economic affairs. Then we have Chris Vein who is the Deputy Chief Technology Officer of the US government at the White House.
We’ll ask them to introduce themselves, their work and a couple of challenges they are facing for 5 to 10 minutes. We’ll then ask a couple of ice-breaking questions. Then we’ll open up to the audience for an interactive session. We don’t have slides. We banned luckily PowerPoint. We like to make this as interactive as possible. We basically give them first an opportunity to position what they’re doing and to speak a couple of issues. I may ask them as well if they want to ask questions to the audience. We have a wealth of knowledge here which is unprecedented in many ways.
First of all, I’d like to give the floor to Manel. I’ll ask Manel to look into the city of Barcelona, how the city has been transformed from a socio-economic perspective for the last 20 years. I’ll ask him to also drill down on the innovation policy, the innovations of 22@, but also speak about what is happening now and how Barcelona is facing these new challenges for the future. Manel, over to you.
Thank you, Nic. Thank you for inviting me and the city of Barcelona to talk here. Maybe you wonder, in fact, I wonder what a CIO is doing here talking about the transformation of a city. The explanation is very easy. When the mayor Dr. Xavier Trias took office one-and-a-half year ago, he transformed the organization of the City Hall and put together different departments that, in principle, had no relation to each other and created an area called Urban Habitat where he incorporated all the departments that probably could build what we would called a smart city. The department could be called a Smart City Department. There we have the people from the Department of Infrastructure, the people in charge of the relations with the different communities in the metro area, the urban planning people, the environment people and the ICT people. I am responsible for ICT. I sit twice, three times a week with people from these different departments. In fact, here I am talking not as a CIO but as a member of this are of Urban Habitat where we really try to rethink the city.
As Nic said, cities were invented by the first big revolutionary wave – agriculture. Cities were transformed by the second big wave – industrialization. Today’s cities are basically the sons and daughters of industrialization. Now we have the opportunity with the third big technological wave of digitalization of rethinking the cities. We have started not just in the term of Mayor Trias. Years ago, other mayors of Barcelona saw that we have to rethink the city.
Most of you have heard of the 22@ district of Barcelona. What we’ve done is piloting a district of what we want the city to become. We have a model. We believe it’s not a question of talking about technology and smart cities and the like; it’s a question of where you want to go. We have a mantra that we pray every day in the morning: we want a city of productive neighborhoods inside a hyper connected metropolis, many slow cities inside a smart metropolis. We want people to be able to work and live in the same place. When industrialization changed the cities and put the industry in one place and the people in another place. Then we had this problem of moving people around. We want people living and working in the same place; that is what the 22@ is all about. What we’re doing in these 20 years at the district is trying to “22@ize” the city, moving this experience to the rest of the city. The experience has been very successful. We have more than 7,000 companies in the district. The population of the district has grown 15 points over the natural growth of the city. Now, what we want to do is to put this model in all the districts of the city. We want many slow cities inside a smart city. I think I took all my 5 minutes of glory.
Thank you very much. Quite interesting and I was noting down some points: the role of the CIO in the Urban Habitat strategy for the city. We will come back to this when we talk to Chris. Chris has been living a number of lives. He was the CIO for the city of San Francisco. Now he is at the White House so we can see this change from this privileged position in his point-of-view. The other element that I noted down is the lab: taking apart the city, experimenting in a neighborhood-controlled environment and basically, replicating it to the other ones.
Amsterdam has been, in many ways, working for centuries as a lab for innovation, for social entrepreneurship, for open society and diversity. Today, we accelerate of the rate of innovation by applying the digital paradigm to what the city is really about. So I want to hand over to Carolien and ask her to describe how the city is looking at the future. Next year, you have a big anniversary. You’re probably going to speak about that as well. Also, how does the economic development of the city match and leverage the digital innovation opportunities that you have now in Amsterdam? Carolien, over to you.
Thank you very much, Nicola. It’s a great honor for me being with you. My name is Caroline Gehrels, Vice-Mayor of Amsterdam responsible for economic affairs, but also for arts and culture, water management and money management so it’s a beautiful combination.
The fact is Amsterdam works as a laboratory for collective action problems. Sometimes, people ask me, “Why is that so natural for the Dutch? How does it come?” I say in history, we made a lot of mistakes to solve our problems. For example, 400 years we discovered Manhattan but then we sold it to the British. I think it was a big mistake. We learned a lot from that. For example, Amsterdam started as a swamp. In the logo of Amsterdam, you see the 3 crosses. That’s because of our struggle our water, our struggle against fire, and our struggle against diseases. We had to solve those problems together. That’s why I think it’s so natural for the Dutch to solve problems nowadays. Now, we say the 3 crosses of Amsterdam are because of our creativity, our innovation and our spirit of commerce.
I’m happy that there are some representatives of Amsterdam in your ballroom right now – Bas Verhart. He is also part of our Amsterdam Economic Development Board. He’s the leader of THNK, a school for creative leadership in Amsterdam. There’s also Frans-Anton Vermast. He’s from Amsterdam Smart City. He is very busy with our urban solutions nowadays, for example, connectivity, street lighting. We do that together with Cisco and Philips and we try to do it together with other cities in the Netherlands like Rotterdam, Eindhoven – the smartest region in the world and it’s close to Amsterdam. Together, we try to solve the problem of sustainability in street lighting. We use the city as a whole as a laboratory.
Mobility is a big problem in historical city centers because there is not enough space. Everybody wants to have a car in front of their door. In Amsterdam, it was not possible and it is not possible. We solved the problem of mobility first via the bicycle. Lots of kilometers are run by bicycle. I think you all know that. Now, we have a car-sharing project. You don’t own your own car. You share your car with your neighbor or colleague. It’s easier, cheaper and has a lot of advantages.
Smart workspaces – thanks to Cisco Amsterdam, I’m with you now. We have a lot of smart workspaces in Amsterdam. I think that is going to solve the problem of empty office buildings.
I think we have a history. It’s still in our DNA. Now, we try to use the city of Amsterdam as a lab. Because of our scale, I think we can export the urban solutions to other cities. To give one example, after Katrina in New Orleans, we helped with the water management. The canals were not there because they were nice with a ship or boat. They were there because it was a solution for the water problem. We made land or water so we ended with a swamp. We helped New Orleans with their water problem. We have I think a good solution for the problem with the waste. We say in Amsterdam garbage is gold. From the waste, we are making energy. We have a waste energy plant. So the garbage of the Amsterdam citizen is in circular economy put back in energy.
There are a lot of stories to tell. My last story is next year in 2013, we will celebrate the 400 years ago when the canals were dug. It’s going to be nice in Amsterdam because our museums are open. It’s the Rijksmuseum with Rembrandt and Vermeer, the Museum for Modern Art so we are proud of that. We are proud to invite you then.
Thank you very much, Carolien. This is a great introduction to Amsterdam. I’m taking 3 points or 3 notes from your initial speech. First of all is making mistakes and taking risks. This is something typical, I would say, of the Dutch and Amsterdam culture. You basically throw yourself into an issue. It doesn’t matter if you make a couple of mistakes but eventually, you come up with a solution. That’s quite unique. What is also interesting to me is the way you start to collaborate with other cities. You don’t see the challenges being solved within the city. You basically say the only way we can solve them is to compare ourselves and run joint programs with other cities in the Netherlands and also internationally. The third price for me is Amsterdam, because of its diversity, the way you look at the solving of a problem is that you take challenges and you turn them very quickly into opportunities. The garbage is an example there. These are 3 of the ingredients, in my opinion, of the recipe that we see in sustainable and resilient cities.
A couple of other questions to ask is really about the overall sustainability of the smart cities, of sustainable city models from a policy, economy and migratory perspective. So I’d like to hand over now to our final speaker in the introduction stage which is Chris Vein. I asked Chris to cover his role at the White House and some of the challenges he’s looking at in the US but also from the international perspective and to basically provide us with an introduction. Thank you.
Thanks, Nic. Welcome to San Francisco. How are we doing this morning? Come on. We can do better than that? How are we doing this morning? OK. Part of the problem for me is I’m a walker. I get excited about this stuff. Usually without a podium, I’m walking back and forth. You’re going to see me sitting on the edge of my chair and I apologize for that. I actually have −I think maybe next to the President’s− one of the most exciting jobs in Washington in that I get to travel around the United States and around the world, in both the public sector and private sector and actually see what innovation is taking place, see what’s actually working in both the public and private sector, extract the secret sauce of all of that stuff and create more of a national strategy that includes our states and local governments.
As Nic said, I used to be the Chief Information Officer for the city and county of San Francisco. You’re going to hear from John Walton a little later this morning who is my successor about what he’s been doing since I left. When I was here, I actually looked at the amazing riches we had in the city, the amazing infrastructure of the government but also the amazing infrastructure of Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and all of these technology companies. I thought we’re missing something here if we can’t figure out how to combine the best of both worlds and really apply it towards meeting the goals and objectives that the citizens have. Imagine what you could accomplish if we started breaking down those silos between government agencies or even between the levels of government (federal, state and local). What we could accomplish working together is really the basis of my comments this morning and the basis of what we’re trying to do in Washington.
You may have a heard a couple of concepts that I would say are central to what we’re trying to do. The first is open government – this belief that the government can be transparent, participative and collaborative.
In addition to that, we talk a lot about open innovation – this idea that good ideas come from everywhere. They don’t have to come from your mayor or your city council. They can come from a citizen, somebody working in a company or from anywhere. There is a need to bring all of that talent into the organization to help you solve these problems.
The last is this idea of open data. This idea that much like corporations, the governments are sitting in this rich treasure trove of an asset called data. How can we use this data to do 4 things that every mayor, every governor, the President all want to do? You hear it over and over again: economic growth, job creation, efficient government, and social change. If you really are looking at those as your goals, how can you use open data to enable that?
About 40 years ago in the United States, a little organization called NOAA started releasing weather data to the general public free of charge in machine-readable format. As a result of that single experiment, we have today a multi-billion dollar industry around weather in this country. Also, think about GPS and think about the decision that DoD and other organizations made to release the GPS data to the public. Think about how we have come to depend on that GPS technology on our cell phones, in our cars, everywhere. Imagine if we could continue to do that across all sectors: transportation, energy, education, health. That’s really what we’ve been focusing on in the federal government side. It’s figuring out how to release that data appropriately, safely, with concerns about privacy and then work with entrepreneurs within the American economy and figure out how to get them to take that data and actually build new products and services, enhance existing products and services, or just generally collaborate with other organizations. We’ve seen amazing opportunities and amazing growth as small companies, large companies, Walgreens, Aetna, iTriage have actually taken that data and created a whole new aspect of our economy. That has been −and continues to be− a major part of our agenda.
Back to this idea that good ideas come from everywhere, we know in Washington that the issues we need to solve are so large that we can do it ourselves. We need to open up this idea of open innovation. So what we’ve started doing is actually setting up a process to bring people from outside the government, inside the government, marry them with the entrepreneurs and innovators within the government and give them short projects, definable times in 30, 60, 90 days, not 6 months, 9 months, 5 years and actually lock them in a room and get them to create new approaches to procurement, customer relations, blue button, downloading easily your data across all sectors of the government. We’ve got about 5 or 6 amazing projects. We have launched that and it is touching a revolution in Washington. Also, here in San Francisco Mayor Lee, you heard from him yesterday. Mayor Lee is sponsoring a similar type of approach here in San Francisco and we will see that more in cities.
The last thing I will say is this will only be successful if we have tangible proof that this is working. I just like to talk about one company. It’s called iTriage. It comes from Colorado. It was started by an emergency room doc who was tired of seeing the patients not knowing where to go, what possibly could be wrong with them, and also kind of a misdiagnosis within the system. He created in part, based on data, an iPhone app that if you download it, you can actually use it to find where the best hospital is for whatever you think you have to figure out what you’ve got, connect with doctors, connect with hospitals, connect with others within your neighborhood creating a one-stop shop on your cell phone that helps triage your visit to the medical professional. That has won an amazing number of awards. It’s being downloaded millions of times. As a small company, he’s now at 60 to 90 people working and he’s got 60 openings. This is just one of a myriad of companies that are basically following suit with this strategy.
In conclusion, I’m sure I’ve taken all of my 5 minutes and I apologize for that, it is taking this idea of creating the next generation of government, how we can embed technology and actually use it to do the things that we expect the government to do but also the things that we don’t expect the government to do.
Question and Answer
Nicola Villa: Chris, thank you very much. We are opening up now for questions. Maybe have one from myself to all 3 panelists to break the ice. When you look at the role of the CIO, when you looking at stimulating innovation, when you look at creating the open innovation and data in the government world, what is exactly, in your opinion, the role of the government? Is the government an orchestrator? Is he an investor? Does he have to take hands off or hands on? There’s quite a bit of discussion on an international level of what exactly the government, maybe the local is the central point that should be doing it. Manel, what is your view?
Manel Sanromá: I suppose it depends on culture. For instance, in Europe particularly in my country, the government is supposed to do many things. I think one of the things that the government should do is retire from doing so many things and try to be more of a partner, facilitator and done being the one doing things. I think that is changing. It’s changing rapidly because we have strong relations with many stakeholders in the city. They are coming to us less and less for money initiative; more and more, they are coming to us to be partners, to be commercials of what they’re doing. One of the things Mayor Trias is doing is going abroad not selling what the City Hall is doing but what Barcelona is doing. The city is not the City Hall. Of course, the City Hall talks on behalf of the city but the citizens are the ones who make the city. Rousseau used to say, “The houses make the village but the citizens make the city.” I think the government should be a stakeholder of the city, to talk on behalf of the city, not too much leading but a companion in facilitating.
Nicola Villa: So the orchestrator, the connector. Carolien, what is your view?
Carolien Gehrels: Well, I think it takes a city to raise a child. I think the role of the government is to bring all the partners together to give the citizens a prosperous life. They have to take care of each other so I think the government is very important for defining the collective problems and also, for bringing the partners together to solve the problems and give the urban solutions.
For example, we think that it’s very important that we have good partners in the city. We want academic excellence so we would invite them together with the companies in our cities to solve the problems in the way the White House is doing – in 30, 60, 90 days. Wayne talked about creative leadership and academic excellence. The new school of Bas Verhart THNK for creative leadership is taking a role in that. At the same time, I think the companies are very important. I mentioned Philips. They want to be innovative. They use Amsterdam as a laboratory. I think it’s the same with Cisco and IBM with the smart grid, for example. So we have to bring the right partners together.
Nicola Villa: Thank you, Carolien. Again, orchestrating and focusing on a certain perspective. The idea that we discuss a lot in Amsterdam is how the government and large corporations create a sort of an infrastructure capability, a bit of a sand box where the sand really, the innovation is coming from the small and medium businesses. In Amsterdam, there’s a gentleman professor named who keeps looking at data in all of the 21st century. The sand in the sand box is basically data and local financing. The communities and small and medium businesses build the castle on the sandbox. Does this apply to the US, Chris? What is your perspective from a policy point-of-view?
Chris Vein: Absolutely. There is a thought leader here by the name of Tim O’Reilly who talks about government as a platform. This idea that government doesn’t necessarily have to solve all of the problems but if it can provide a basis for others to come in and create the value and compete against each other −not that the cities are picking winners and losers but creating a level playing field− that actually enables more economic development, job creation and efficiency than if cities or just government did it by themselves. So absolutely, totally agree there are multiple roles for government, multiple opportunities for it. If you look at American cities, we just recently at the White House said something called Champions of Change where we recognize 12 cities −small, medium and large− and 1 county for the great work they’re doing. Each of them, in their own way, is trying to figure out how to use the community. The community becomes the capacity in order to make this happen. The customer becomes the approach. Indeed, to your point about data, cities like New York, Chicago, Philadelphia are now borrowing a playbook from the private sector and really looking at that data and combining it in different ways to actually predict behavior within a city and therefore, create different policies as a result of that behavior to get ahead of it rather than be behind.
Nicola Villa: Fantastic, thank you. Any reactions from the audience? There’s one in front.
Questioner #1: I’m Lucci from Toronto. We’re a condominium developer. Network infrastructure is fundamental to the growth of cities. We heard that from everybody. The challenge that we face in North America and I know that it doesn’t exist globally is the fact that the infrastructure is owned by the companies. They don’t share the infrastructure for the most part. It’s owned by different people. I know in different places of the world, the government is taking control of that, understanding the importance and created either a government-owned network or forced the sharing of infrastructure. It’s the same thing with roads. Roads aren’t owned by companies. They’re delivered by the government. It’s fundamental to the growth of the city. So I want to ask Amsterdam and Barcelona. I know what’s going on in the US, unless there’s something in the US that’s working to solve this issue. The network is so fundamental and yet, the method of getting it in and making it strong and having it shared is broken, in my opinion.
Nicola Villa: Thank you. Next question over there.
Questioner #2: I’m Scott Kolber from Roadify in New York. We’re a data platform for mass transit information. My question is for Chris Vein. Could you speak a little bit more specifically about how these White House programs that you talked about are actually working with small companies? Is there funding available? How do you deal with rights issues? It’s sort of a tactical question.
Questioner #3: Hardik Bhatt with Cisco. The question goes back to all 3 of them but more to Chris. Chris, when we worked together, we mostly try to partner with the federal government. It was a bittersweet relationship. We hear all the time that the future of competition is going to be between the cities: Barcelona, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Chicago. Sitting in Washington, what is the federal government doing to enable and partner the growth of the cities so that they can compete globally?
Nicola Villa: Thanks to all this. Maybe start with the first question. Both Barcelona and Amsterdam have a wealth of knowledge and expertise in policy to open up this infrastructure. Maybe first Manel and then Carolien.
Manel Sanromá: We do have infrastructures of our own. We have optic fiber and Wi-Fi which belongs to the city. We resell it to other companies that are much powerful than us, of course. We do have public infrastructure and we believe we’ll keep having them because it’s a tool for our policy.
Nicola Villa: Do you work with the private sector and telecom operators?
Manel Sanromá: Of course.
Nicola Villa: And you lease, basically, a part of your infrastructure to them. Carolien, you have an interest in the program called Citynet. I was talking to the Minister of Urban Planning in China last year. He saw my business card and he saw I was coming from Amsterdam. He said, “I know this program about Citynet.” You’ve become famous for what you’ve done with fiber. Could you maybe provide a description of what happened?
Carolien Gehrels: Well, I think we made it possible for the government and the companies together put a big harbor net into Amsterdam. It makes it possible for companies and also citizens to be so unbelievably quick on the internet. That’s big for the creative industry, the education infrastructure and for companies. Again, we shared the risks – the local government together with some companies.
Nicola Villa: Chris, your view on that.
Chris Vein: Actually, given that we only have 3 minutes left, I’ll go for the second. Thank you and thank you. Back to this idea of government as a platform, I think the implicit in that statement is you have to go about deciding which problems are you going to go after and how you solve them differently. Scott, every time I get this question “Where’s the government funding for this kind of effort?” The answer is, “There isn’t any” because I’m just as cash-constrained as the city of Chicago is versus your small company in New York. Recognizing that constraint, how do we redefine the problem and how do we redefine the solution? Starting with your point, we have a 5-step process by Todd Park, my boss who’s the Chief Technology Officer who reports directly to the President and is the person who understands and introduces technology into all of our specific policy problems. I think that, in itself, is an innovation. The CTO of the country reports directly to the President and is actively involved in all discussions. What he’s come up with is a 5-step process where we know it’s not enough to introduce and release data because oftentimes, it’s garbage in/garbage out. It’s not there. What we know is we have to build the eco-system, a fancy word for reaching out to people like you, making sure we’re giving the right kind of data for you to use and then enticing you −being a patient convener or whatever role we need to be− in order to get small business to look at the data and incorporate it into their products or build new products. We do that in a very specific process so that what you build can then be used to ignite people to their ideas and their visions. Then we slowly but surely build out this network of innovation in a particular business vertical like health, transportation. Then we have datapaloozas in Washington −we just had one in energy and we just had one in education− where we bring a whole bunch of people together and we celebrate the success of those entrepreneurs. Year by year by year over the past 4 years, we’ve done that in health. We had a datapalooza in the convention center where people actually competed for 20 slots because there wasn’t enough time and there wasn’t enough room for all people to come together to show off what they’ve been able to create. I’ll be glad to talk to you afterwards but there’s really a bona fide 5-step process.
Hardik, let me just me with a quick answer to you. I think what the federal government is trying to do in this new model is really figure out how to work with cities in order to enable them to solve their particular problems. Transportation is a good example. We are working collaboratively across the private sector, the citizen sector, the public sector around issues, for example, transportation data. We’re trying to get some kind of standard approach to that data so that cities can start looking a little bit more the same, so that companies like this gentleman’s company can come in and build apps not just for a particular city but all cities across the country. Many of you may know we have something called data.gov but what we’ve launched very quietly about 6 months ago is cities.data.gov. We’re recognizing and federating the data from cities across the country. We are building counties.data.gov. We’re building states.data.gov with the hope that eventually, we’ll get rid of those names −cities, counties, state, whatever− and they’ll just be data.gov. Most likely, an open source or multi-source platform where all data is available. We’re getting everybody to work together creating, again, that government as a platform.
Chris, thank you very much. We covered a wide range of topics in the last 40 minutes. I want to thank all of you, the 3 panelists Carolien, Chris and Manel. I would encourage, of course, this conversation to progress and proceed over the next couple of days but also in virtual and physical. The city of Amsterdam hosts a number of delegations on a weekly basis so we can basically see what they do.
I’d like to conclude with −started with history and end up with− food as I’m being very Italian these days. I start thinking about a number of ingredients that we discussed in this half-an-hour or 40 minutes which makes our cities sustainable. Every city which operates and innovates has a different recipe. The beautiful thing about food is it’s very diverse depending on the place you go but the ingredients, it seems to me, are always the same. There’s the role of the government. There’s the role of technology and innovation within the government. There is innovation. There’s openness of data and of business models. I encourage all of us to continue identifying and discussing those ingredients for the next couple of days. Hopefully in the next few months following this conference, start thinking about some of the recipes, cook them together and enjoy the food of innovation. Thank you very much.