Smart cities: all hype or a platform for change?

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About the guests

Dr Larissa Suzuki

Larissa Romualdo Suzuki is a passionate computer scientist, inventor, engineer, and entrepreneur. She is a Senior Product Manager for ORACLE Automatic Machine Learning Platform (AutoML) and holds a PhD in Computer Science from UCL, where she also continues her academic work as an Honorary Research Associate. She is the Chair of the Tech London Advocates Smart Cities, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a reviewer of the IEEE and Springer scientific journals, and judge and reviewer the Academy of Computer Machinery (ACM) Research Competition. Larissa has received honours and awards from Google, Intel, MIT, ACM, Microsoft Research, McKinsey & Co, EPSRC among others for her contributions to technology and international science.

Episode quotes

  • “A smart city can only be smart if the solutions that we put out there mirror the society we are building them for and address real problems for real people.”
  • “The problem that we have today is infusing technology into older vintage cities like London. It’s really a difficult and very complicated problem – and we need to bring all stakeholders together to actually agree on a way forward. If energy suppliers, water providers, and transport providers don’t have the same understanding on how the city is growing, people are going to do X over here, Y over there, and Z elsewhere again.”

Andrew Comer

Andrew Comer has 40 years of experience in civil engineering consultancy work, embracing a wide range of disciplines and projects in many parts of the world. He has a long history of delivering efficient, sustainable, and attractive urban quarters in the Middle East, India, China, Russia, as well as Europe. In doing so, he has worked alongside some of the world’s leading architects and designers. From 2003, Andrew led the BuroHappold team providing the strategic engineering inputs of the London 2012 Olympic Park and Legacy Masterplan and Design together with the EDAW Consortium. This award-winning scheme contributes the catalyst for change for the East End of London, delivering not just a venue for the world’s greenest Olympic Games but a future-proofed, 246-hectare regeneration development platform from one of Europe’s most deprived and polluted sites.

Episode Quotes

  • “From a personal perspective I think it was the double win was that the games were hugely successful and – by and large – went off without a hitch, and secondly that it created a development platform that’s been built upon and is now proving such a popular and valuable asset.”
  • “We have serious challenges globally with urbanization and resource depletion creating climate change and social unrest, it is one of the inevitable consequences if we’re not careful. Engineers have historically taken the advances that have been made in science and technology and applied them where they’ve been beneficial for the improvement of society for mankind.”

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