Smart visions

Budapest to host Empowering Smart Solutions for Better Cities conference in October

September 19, 2017

Usman Haque, the founder of Umbrellium, a London-based collective of architects, designers, tactical urbanists and creative technologists, will be the keynote speaker at the Empowering Smart Solutions for Better Cities to be held on October 2-3, 2017, in Budapest, Hungary. Haque, one of 40 speakers who will participate in the conference, will talk on the theme “Transforming Cities”.

Registration is still open for the conference, which will take place at Budapest’s Millenaris Park. The event will attract experts in urban planning, sustainable energy, mobility, ICT, smart business models and user-centric innovation for two full days of networking, active participation and collective storytelling. The event will contribute to the positive and sustainable transformation of our cities through the replication of technological solutions, good practices and knowledge exchange between cities and businesses.

Other distinguished speakers taking part in the event (profiled below) include: Dominique Ristori, Director General of Energy within the European Commission; Ulf Kamne, Deputy Mayor of Gothenburg, Sweden; Jaroslav Kacer, Deputy Mayor of Brno, Czech Repuglic; Balazs Szeneczey, Deputy Mayor of Budapest; Gotzone Sagardui, Deputy Mayor of Bilbao, Spain; and Tomasz Pactwa, City of Warsaw, Poland.

Usman Haque, Umbrellium

In addition to founding the Umbrellium collective (formerly Haque Design + Research), Usman Haque also founded of the Internet of Things data infrastructure and the community platform (acquired by LogMeIn Inc. in 2011, where he launched the Urban Projects Division). Trained as an architect, Haque has created responsive environments, interactive installations, digital interfaces and dozens of mass-participation initiatives in cities throughout the world. He has taught in the Interactive Architecture Workshop at the Bartlett School of Architecture, London, and in 2008 received the ‘Design of the Year Award’ (interactive category) from the Design Museum.

Ulf Kamne, Deputy Mayor of Gothenburg

Ulf Kamne is both Deputy Mayor and Deputy Chair of the City Executive Board in Gothenburg, Sweden, and has responsibilities related to city planning and climate and environmental issues. Active in local politics for almost ten years, Kamne is dedicated to continuously developing Gothenburg into a sustainable city. He believes that city planning is an important tool that can help reduce our contribution to climate change.  

Jaroslav Kacer, Deputy Mayor of Brno

Jaroslav Kacer has served as the fifth Deputy Mayor of the City of Brno since 2016, and is currently engaged in ‘smart city’ issues, city strategy, informatics and Brno’s ‘electronic town hall’. Kacer graduated from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the Brno University of Technology, and has held several managerial posts in the commercial and governmental sectors. The founder of an advertising agency and formerly self-employed in consulting and project management, he has been a member of the Brno City Council since 2010. As the Chairman of the Brno Smart City Commission, he was involved in the preparation of the ‘Brno Smart City Concept’, which was approved by the City Council in 2015.

Balazs Szeneczey, Deputy Mayor of Budapest

Trained as a lawyer with a focus on European law, Balazs Szeneczey practiced as a lawyer before becoming manager of the Budapest Mayor’s Office in 2010. In 2012, Szeneczey was elected by the Budapest Municipal Assembly to the position Deputy Mayor for Urban Development, in which capacity he is currently responsible for projects co-financed by the EU, as well as for tasks related to city development, urban planning, protection of local values, and priority investments of the Municipality of Budapest.

Gotzone Sagardui, Deputy Mayor of Bilbao

With a diverse educational background, ranging from medicine to tourism and public relations, Gotzone Sagardui has devoted her professional career to public service. Over the course of nearly 20 years, she worked at Basque Country University and then as a Chief of Health Care at the Socio-Sanitary residence of the Provincial Council of Bizkaia before becoming Labour Activation Director of the Basque Public Employment Service within the Basque Country Government. She left the government in 2016 when she was elected as a member of the Basque Country Parliament, where she participated in commissions for health affairs, education and employment, and social affairs. From April 2017, Gotzone has been Councillor of the Mayor of Bilbao responsible for institutional relations, human resources and public contracting.  She is also Chairman of the 7th District of Bilbao, as well as a board member of different public companies.

Tomasz Pactwa, City of Warsaw

Tomasz Pactwa is the Director of the Welfare and Social Projects Department for the City of Warsaw, and for several years has been actively involved in creating social innovations. He supports systems integration through the coordination of projects concerned with social aid and employment policies. He has also initiated broad partnerships between the public sector, science sector and NGOs to realise joint innovative initiatives. Pactwa is creator of the ‘Virtual Warsaw’, a system that enables people with visual impairment to travel around the city, and which was recognised as one of the most innovative projects in the ‘Mayors Challenge’ contest sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies. Pactwa also initiated the modernisation of social services in Warsaw via an emphasis on using the most recent ICT solutions.


About the Smart Cities Information System (SCIS)

The Smart Cities Information System (SCIS) brings together cities, institutions, project developers, industry and experts from across Europe to exchange data, experience and know-how and to collaborate on the creation of smart cities and an energy-efficient urban environment. Launched with support from the European Commission, SCIS encompasses data collected from ongoing and future smart cities and energy efficiency projects co-funded by the European Union. Focusing on energy, mobility and transport, and ICT, SCIS showcases solutions in the fields of energy-efficiency in buildings, energy system integration, sustainable energy solutions on district level, smart cities and communities, strategic sustainable urban planning.

The tasks of the Regional Enviornmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC) in the project consortium primarily relate to disseminating project results through external events and multipliers, organising seminars for decision makers, and hosting the project's final conference.

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For more information:

Yana Pargova, Project Manager, GOPA Com., Tel: +32 2 234 37 20

TAGS: Smart cities | Best practices