From June 1st to 3rd, Istanbul was the host of the Smart City Expo edition for South-eastern Europe and the Middle East. The event was jointly organized by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and Fira de Barcelona.
With the Turkish capital city not only as a backdrop but also as a prime example of the specific challenges that cities in this part of the world are facing, Smart City Expo Istanbul had Cities in Motion as its main claim hence focusing on mobility and urban transformation as two of the main drivers of urban development. Held at the Haliç Congress Center, the event was jointly organized by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (through Kültür AŞ) and Fira de Barcelona.
The three-day event started in Istanbul on Wednesday June 1st, 2016 bringing more than 150 metropolitan mayors from around the world together with business circles that aspire to develop smart city projects and invest in the area, while offering an opportunity to explain and evaluate studies concerning innovative, environmentally friendly, solution-oriented and more livable city life.
The official opening ceremony was held by Kadir Topbaş, the mayor of Istanbul and Spanish former Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, at Haliç Congress Center (HCC). Delivering a statement about the Smart City Expo, Topbaş said that Istanbul, which joins continents and hosts many civilizations, is a leading force in Turkey. Referring to businessmen that aspire to have a place in the city, Topbaş noted that Istanbul is a source of inspiration for everyone due to its historic fabric and natural beauties. He said: “Istanbul is a city where members of all cultures and religions live peacefully. Mass conventions are held in Istanbul now, and when participants learn that a congress will be held in this city, they become happy. Istanbul is successfully hosting Smart City Expo like other gatherings of this kind.”
Smart City Expo Istanbul comprised a congress and an exhibition where companies and institutions showcased their projects, technologies and urban solutions to visitors and experts alike. The conference focused on 6 key themes –Mobility, Innovation and Technology, Energy, Smart Society, Entrepreneurship & Economic Development, and Big Data & Urban Management– and featured over 20 speakers and 20 different session, among which two keynotes by mobility experts Anthony Townsend, senior research Scientist and NYU’s Rudin Center and Principal at Bits and Atoms, and Phillip Rode, Director of the LSE Cities at the London School of Economics.
This special focus on Mobility also held Istanbul projects in the spotlight. Istanbul is facing important challenges in this field and is undertaking several projects to tackle this issue including new metro lines, new bridges and an underground tunnel connecting the Asian and European continents, a new Airport and different smart traffic management solutions which will be showcased at the event.
The exhibition featured over 40 companies and institutions as TOKİ, Argedor, Cisco, Current by GE, Ericsson, Fors Medya, SAP, Tahincioglu, Türk Telekom, Turkish Airlines and Vakif Bank, among others.