As a student representative of ETH Zurich, I attended the Chicago Forum on Global Cities from 7-9 June 2017. This international and prestigious Forum is organised by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. For me this was a magnificent opportunity to attend. I am a master student at the Institute of Science, Technology and Policy (ISTP) and particularly interested in cities.
A first stop led us student delegates to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago (Fed). We had the opportunity to learn how the Fed interacts with cities and how city planning is shaped in Chicago. Cities like Chicago have a Smart City strategy that permeates all administrative units and changes how administration is understood and implemented. However, many cities in developing countries suffer from a rather weak administration. Therefore, a Smart Cities concept cannot be unleashed on top of it, but needs to be developed and introduced in tandem with an improvement of the general administration. A few of the colleagues I met expressed interest in continuing the discussion and academic research in this field. Throughout the official forum I had several great opportunities to meet with leaders in diverse fields. I had some enlightening in-depth discussions with representatives from government agencies and academia about how and to which extent Smart City technology can solve administrative and financial issues in developing countries.
At ETH Zurich, we often focus on very technical aspects of problems and challenges and the respective solutions, but we often shy away from thinking about the social implications. At the Institute of Science, Technology and Policy, ISTP we think about these links and this was also the case here at the forum. I very much enjoyed participating at the Forum and I surely will profit from the insight I’ve gained.
By Jascha Grübel
Jascha is enrolled as a MSc student at the Institute of Science, Technology and Policy (ISTP) and holds a MSc degree in Computer Science Visual Computing Track of ETH Zurich. He is particularly interested in how big data can influence policy-making decisions in city planning.