"[U]nprecedented urbanization is both an emblem of our economic and societal progress -- especially for the world's emerging nations -- and a huge strain on the planet's infrastructure. It's a challenge felt urgently by mayors, heads of economic development, school administrators, police chiefs and other civic leaders. The challenges these leaders face -- educating their young, keeping citizens safe and healthy, attracting and facilitating commerce and enabling the smooth flow of planes, trains, cars and pedestrians -- are only being compounded by the global downturn.
Thankfully, help is at hand, with intelligence being infused into the way cities work. It has tended to be been system-by-system so far, but it need not stop there. We now have the capacity to manage cities as the complex systems -- indeed, systems-of-systems -- that they are. And the current crisis in the world's economy offers an opportunity -- indeed, I believe, an imperative -- to do just that.
[T]hat's why IBM is convening a "smarter cities" summit this June in Berlin -- to be followed by similar gatherings in New York and Asia in the months ahead.
We've invited hundreds of leaders from the world's most innovative cities to share ideas and learn how we can make our cities smarter. The enthusiastic response we've received is very encouraging, and it reinforces my feeling that this moment presents us with a unique opportunity to achieve fundamental change through new kinds of collaborative innovation. Change is what the people of the world want. Cities are the arena in which to do so."