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Urban mobility must tackle an over-reliance on automobiles, which has led to both sprawl and inequity of access to amenities and opportunities, if it is to re-invent itself. Like other utilities such as water, what may have suited cities to date will not be sustainable in the face of growing populations and a changing climate. Swapping out private fossil fuel cars with electric and autonomous ones is not viable.
While digital technology can make transport systems safer and more efficient, we are also updating 200 year-old technology. Electrified micro-mobility to transport people and goods could play a significant role, as we are starting to see in the global north, as long as it is supported by high quality, segregated cycling infrastructure.
Citizens, particularly in the global south, are already spending on informal, often unregulated private transport. Governance - the public sector taking accountability - could divert this into integrated mass transit systems. Governments should also enable safe, inclusive spaces and allow urban residents to have access to all the benefits of the city.
If you want to find out more about some of the amazing companies and organisations that the speakers mentioned in the podcast have a look at their websites:
Harvard Kennedy School
David Zipper is a Visiting Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Taubman Center for State and Local Government, where he examines the interplay between urban policy and new mobility technologies. David's perspective on urban development is rooted in his experience working within city hall as well as being a venture capitalist, policy researcher, and startup advocate. He has consulted with numerous startups and public entities about the future of cities and mobility, and he tweets regularly on those topics as @davidzipper.
David is a Contributing Writer at Bloomberg CityLab, and his articles have also been published in WIRED, Slate, and Fast Company. He has written about topics including Mobility-as-a-Service, the uses of transportation data, and linkages between public transit, city regs, and private shared vehicles like ride hail and e-scooters. David has given talks at events including CES, SXSW, and the FIA Global Conference.
From 2013 to 2017 David was the Managing Director for Smart Cities and Mobility at 1776, a global entrepreneurial hub with over 1,300 member startups. At 1776 David connected hundreds of entrepreneurs to urban leaders eager to deploy their solutions, and he closed millions of dollars in partnerships with cities and corporations worldwide. He continues to be a Partner in the 1776 Seed Fund, and he has consulted with startups including Tortoise, Colu, and TransitScreen to help shape their regulatory strategies.
General Manager, Citi Bike,
Lyft Bikes and Scooters
Laura Fox is currently Lyft's General Manager for Citi Bike, where she oversees strategy, growth, operations, marketing, new product launches, and the local P&L - as well as community engagement and city partnerships. In recognition of her leadership in NYC, she was named to City&State’s Transportation Power 100 and NYC’s Mayoral COVID recovery taskforce. Laura is also a professor of MBA strategy at NYU Stern School of Business.
Previously, Laura worked for Sidewalk Labs, an Alphabet company dedicated to building the city of the future through urban tech; worked at the Boston Consulting Group and led projects for urban mobility, technology, and cultural organizations; edited a book on bottom-up urban development and innovation ("Order Without Design" by Alain Bertaud); built a conversation game focused on deepening human connections; delivered a TED talk on the role of curiosity and ignorance in the creative process; created digital strategies and products in the Americas, Middle East, and Asia for social enterprises; and more.
Outside of work, Laura lives in Brooklyn with her husband Anthony and dog Bagel - and is a startup mentor/advisor, on the board of Governor’s Island and BCG’s alumni group, and leadership committee of LISC and the Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD).
University of Queensland
Dorina Pojani is an urban planning academic based at The University of Queensland, Australia. Her research interests encompass built environment topics (urban design, urban transport, and urban housing) in both the Global North and South. She has studied and worked in the USA, Belgium, and the Netherlands, in addition to her native Albania, and has held guest teaching and research positions in Austria, Chile, and Italy. She has also been a consultant for various UN agencies including UNDP, UNESCAP, and UN Habitat.
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One young urban refugee in Uganda supported to join SINA for 6 months to unleash his/her potential