This year the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona will be bigger than ever: more cities, more exhibitors, more speakers, and more inspiring talks by experts! The focus of this year is citizen empowerment, and that’s a topic dear to us. At CitizenLab, we picked our must-attend talks over the 3 days of congress and we thought it would be helpful to share it with you!

Follow our selection of conferences below to find at which are the 9 talks you don’t want to miss this year at Smart City Expo World Congress!

must-attend talks at Smart City Expo Barcelona 2017

Tuesday, November 14th

Empower Cities, Empower People

Topic: cities are the closest level of government in relation to its people. They are better positioned to listen to the real needs of its population and to solve global problems. Cities have the task of translating the global frameworks and regional policies into real action on the ground. But they need to do more with less, and they require financial support to increase the infrastructures needed and basic services to ensure greater social equity and sustainable urban spaces for all. Hence, there is an imperative need to empower cities.


  • Khandker Mosharraf Hossain – Bangladesh Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives
  • Gerardo Pisarello – Deputy Mayor of Economy and Labour, Digital City and International Relations, Barcelona City Council
  • Gila Gamliel – Ministry for Social Equality of Israel

Where & When: Auditorium, from 9:30 to 10:15

Solutions to Co-Create Inclusive and Equitable Cities

Topic: in an inclusive and equitable city, residents have the power and resources to collectively plan, change and shape their environment. While there is no one sure-fire way to build such a city, there are successful initiatives promoting inclusive development and involving different stakeholders. This practical session will showcase a variety of solutions that encompass different key elements to co-create inclusive and equitable cities.


  • Jessica Christiansen-Franks – CoFounder and CEO, Neighbourlytics
  • Jordi Puy – COO, Sound Diplomacy
  • Eckhart Hertzsch – Joanes Stiftung
  • Philipp Bouteiller – CEO, TEGEL PROJEKT GmbH
  • Luis Navarro López – Head of Unit Consorcio Fernando de los Ríos – GUADALINFO
  • Eyal Feder-Levy – CEO & Co-Founder, ZenCity

Where & When: Agora, from 14:00 to 15:00

Co-production in Action: Towards more Equitable Cities

Topic: co-production has emerged as a rewarding approach for achieving sustainable urban development. Citizens are not only consulted, but are part of the conception, design, steering, and management of services. However existing structures and frameworks are still not adapted to this new method and mindset. What policies can local authorities and other tiers of governments implement to foster co-production and achieve more equitable cities?


  • Karin Markvica – Scientist, AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH
  • Yoshihide Sekimoto – Associate Professor, University of Tokyo
  • Luciano Rezende – Mayor, City of Vitória
  • Elkin Velasquez – Director of the Regional Office for the Caribbean and Latin America, UN-Habitat
  • Agustí Serra Monté – Director de la Direcció General d’Ordenació del Territori i Urbanisme, Government of Catalonia

Where & When: Room 2, from 14:00 to 15:00 (same time as the one above, but we couldn’t choose!)

must-attend talks smart city expo

Wednesday, November 15th

Beyond the Smart City: Democratizing Innovation While Putting Citizens First

Topic: pushing the conversation beyond the traditional issues associated with the smart city agenda, this panel will look at numerous emerging challenges and opportunities that cities face as they navigate the digital transition. They include the thorny legal and economic questions of data ownership, especially in the context of AI and IoT; the trade-offs between regulating digital platforms, democratizing innovation, and providing high-value services for citizens; and the sustainability of business models inspired by the sharing economy and most effective ways to have them serve the interests of citizens.


  • Jeff Merritt – Director of Innovation City of New York
  • Christian Rickerts – State Secretary at the Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprise, Berlin City Council
  • Paola Pisano – Deputy Mayor, City of Turin
  • Francesca Bria – Chief Technology and Digital Innovation Officer, Ajuntament de Barcelona
  • Andrey Belozerov – Strategy and Innovations Advisor to CIO, IT Department Moscow Government

Where & When: Room 3, from 14:15 to 15:15

Disruptive Mindsets Transforming Cities

Topic: the future is now. Artificial intelligence (AI), as well as virtual reality (VR), robotics, and blockchain technology are already changing the way transportation, security or even education and healthcare function within cities around the world. The list of potential uses of these technologies is lengthening rapidly. However, they also bring some challenges. How can urban leaders integrate them while ensuring that citizens don’t lose control of their data?


  • François Sonnet – Co-founder, ElectriCChain
  • Manu Monasterio – ESADE “Artificial Intelligence” Marketing Professor
  • Evgenii Borisov – VIMANA
  • Adam Mowlam – Manager Smart City Office, Wyndham City Council
  • Hiroyuki Suzuki – Executive Vice President, Representative Director, Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR)

Where & When: Room 5, from 17:15 to 18:15

must-attend talks smart city expo

Thursday, November 16th

Engaging and Empowering People Using Data and Digital Innovations

Topic: digital innovations can help empower civic society by improving engagement in democratic processes. Yet, with all the apps and platforms out there, it’s hard to set out a model of citizen engagement going beyond the digital suggestion box and bearing in mind privacy and security related issues. How can city managers better use data to model engagement? How can they avoid being drowned in feedback while being inclusive?


  • Adriana Krnáčová – Mayor, City of Prague
  • Claudio Simao – Chief Technology Officer, Hexagon
  • Danielle DuMerer – CIO & Commissioner, City of Chicago
  • Vasyl Kryvonos – COO, Unit
  • Gilles Babinet – Digital Champion representing France, European Commission

Where & When: Auditorium, from 10:00 to 11:00

City as a Platform: A Collaborative Framework to Drive Sustainability, Inclusivity and Innovation

Topic: the strength of Smart Cities comes often from the digital enablers put in place in the background, providing a central point to aggregate data and functionality from many siloed city initiatives. Yet to set them up, cities need a common approach. This session will expand on the main points of the City as a Platform Manifesto, which champions the use of Open APIs and common standards to make an open, flexible and interoperable city platform model.


Jamie Cudden – Jamie Cudden

  • Andrew Collinge – Smart City Lead and Assistant Director, Intelligence and Analysis, Greater London Authority
  • Frans Jorna – Chief Smart city a.i., City of Utrecht
  • Thomas Kruse – Senior policy maker CIO office, City of Utrecht
  • Martin Brynskov – Chair, Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC)

Where & When: Room 5, from 16:30 to 17:15

View the full congress schedule here

must-attend talks smart city expo

Bonus: meet CitizenLab at the Belgium Booth!

You are very welcome at our booth to know more about citizen participation platform, participatory democracy, or just have a chat about Civic TechAline, Wietse and Mathieu are looking forward to meeting you!

See you at booth E520!



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