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Collaborating for Sustainable Cities

Over the past few months my colleague from the Schneider Electric US Water / Waste Water Competency Center, Dick McDonnell, and I have been working with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) to help answer the question “How does a city become more sustainable?”

The answer? Collaboration.

That is the key message behind the Urban Infrastructure Initiative, started by the WBCSD to tackle the development of more sustainable cities.

Smarter and more sustainable cities are a focal point for making energy safe, reliable, efficient, productive and green to help cities manage their resources more efficiently and improve the quality of life for their residents.

As a part of the Urban Infrastructure Initiative, our team is working with seven other member companies to develop solution landscapes that outline ideas and innovations for improving the overall sustainability in 10 cities around the globe. Founded on the belief that businesses play a vital role, not only as solution providers, but as major stakeholders to support the transformation required to deliver urban sustainability, the Urban Infrastructure Initiative demonstrates the necessity of collaboration for this challenge.

We believe that cities, businesses, regulators and other stakeholders can’t act alone to achieve their sustainability goals. It requires partnership among these separate entities to share knowledge and best practices to address sustainability head on.

We applied this model to the City of Philadelphia, as part of its larger Greenworks initiative, in the first fully developed solutions landscape through this partnership. Recommendations  to enhance the sustainability performance of Philadelphia’s energy and water management, as well as outline opportunities for technology to improve the mobility and connectivity of the city were included in this effort.

One of the biggest opportunities found for Philadelphia came in water management. A smart water network would allow the city to make smarter decisions about its water processes. Through integrating existing systems to share information across the utility network, we were able to identify potential energy savings of up to 30 percent—ultimately saving millions in energy costs.

The benefits of integrated corridor management systems that combine state-of-the-art hardware, software and services with analytics capabilities to optimize the flow of people and goods within the city were also introduced. Systems like these can improve congestion by up to 20 percent, as well as reduce fuel waste and vehicle emissions by as much as 15 percent.

Our partnership with the WBSCD and the City of Philadelphia is a great first step in demonstrating the power of collaboration and starting conversations with more cities looking to improve their sustainability on a wide-scale.  Together we can create innovative solutions to achieve any goal.

Mayor Nutter and UII Team 
The Honorable Michael A. Nutter, Mayor of Philadelphia, receiving the UII Report from the WBCSD Team

Check out the video below for more information on the solutions for Philadelphia and the work the WBCSD is accomplishing around the world.