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Smart cities stem from clever ideas

Developing the city of the future calls for experts with knowledge of various disciplines. But such minds are as yet few and far between. HFT Stuttgart has launched a new master’s program to train dedicated smart city experts. As part of INTERGEO from 17 to 19 September 2019 in Stuttgart, SMART CITY SOLUTIONS is serving as an innovative platform for projects in this field.

“Smart cities stem from ideas, not technology,” says architect Professor Roland Dieterle – and he’s lining up just the right people for the job with the master’s program in smart city solutions that he recently launched at Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences (HTF). Dieterle’s work has taken him all over the globe, and he doesn’t need long to convince others of the importance of hiring the right people to drive forward smart city development in Germany, too. Not to mention the importance of forging links between different disciplines and areas of expertise – which is the very aim behind SMART CITY SOLUTIONS, taking place at Stuttgart Exhibition Centre from 17 to 19 September 2019. An integral part of INTERGEO, the world’s leading fair for geodesy, this solutions platform demonstrates use cases and technology, encouraging visitors to share ideas and look towards the future.

“We need to think beyond boundaries” 

“There are some outstanding specialists working in public administration,” says Dieterle, “but we need to link their knowledge together. A smart city needs people who can think beyond boundaries.” Ria Fernandez from India is currently training to become a smart city expert on Dieterle’s study program after obtaining a degree in architecture. In her opinion: “There are architects designing buildings all over the world, but they don’t understand the role buildings play as a component of the urban environment.” It doesn’t matter to program director Dieterle which subjects the students studied before joining the course. He believes it’s best to have a mixture of everything.  

Smart city development is a manager’s job – or is it? 

Where might these smart city experts end up putting their skills into practice? “The most sensible place would be working right alongside the city’s senior public administrators,” says Thomas Eichhorn, a division manager at the Agency for Geoinformation and Surveying in Hamburg. Hamburg is paving the way for smart cities in Germany, with its Senate Chancellery directly in charge of projects. In other words, it’s a matter for those at the top. “This is important because smart cities will fail without political change,” says Eichhorn. 

Future questions that need answering today 

This way of thinking has clearly yet to make its way into many other towns and cities in Germany. Increasing congestion, declining air quality, growing energy demands and a lack of living space – the problems and challenges that cities face in light of ever-increasing populations are clear to be seen. Yet more than half of the cities surveyed by SMART CITY SOLUTIONS, as part of INTERGEO, revealed their councils have no-one in charge of smart city development. Even in those that do, there are huge discrepancies – with the responsibility for creating a liveable environment for the future divided inconsistently between urban planners, traffic experts, external service providers and economic development specialists. 


Expo and Conference providing inspiration for the city of the future 

The current state of affairs shows that the forward-looking concept of smart cities is in serious need of its own trade fair and conference platform. SMART CITY SOLUTIONS pools strengths and brings together key players in this sphere. What makes this event so unique is its direct link to INTERGEO, the world’s leading fair for geodata. “Geodata forms an important basis for developing solutions and concepts,” says Dieterle, adding: “But merely attending trade fairs is not enough – we need to harness these events to establish fruitful courses of action beyond that.” This is where the link between the geodesy fair and the SMART CITY SOLUTIONS platform comes in, bringing together inspiring ideas from both spheres.  

The expo revolves around use cases and the technologies implemented by cities and solution providers. Five key topics – Mobility and Transport, Energy and Environment, Security and Resilience, Urban and Spatial Planning, and Open Data and Data Management – are addressed under one roof to provide the required bird’s eye perspective. The conference trains the spotlight on core themes, reveals the best practices developed by cities and solution providers, and showcases inspiring start-ups. Continuing education for both experienced and aspiring smart city pioneers is another key focus. 



Now in its fourth year, SMART CITY SOLUTIONS (17 to 19 September 2019 at Stuttgart Exhibition Centre) is a solutions platform for anyone working to create liveable cities for the future. This combination of trade fair and high-profile conference programme brings together cities and solutions providers to showcase, share and develop their use cases. The distinguished speakers at the conference will also be focusing on continuing education for both budding and established smart city pioneers.  

SMART CITY SOLUTIONS forms an integral part of INTERGEO, the world’s leading fair for geodesy. This unique link provides the ideal opportunity to drive forward progress – after all, accurate geodata forms the basis of any smart city.  

Hosting the event at a different prestigious trade fair location each year serves to inject fresh momentum. This year we will be in Stuttgart (Hall 4), after having toured through Frankfurt (2018), Berlin (2017) and Hamburg (2016). In 2020, it will once again be Berlin’s turn to host SMART CITY SOLUTIONS.  


Click here to watch the interview with professor Roland Dieterle:

You can explore other findings from the expert survey conducted by SMART CITY SOLUTIONS, part of INTERGEO, here:

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