Our world is in a rapid and unprecedented state of urbanization.
As a result, cities have become a hot, buzz-worthy topic. Do a Web search for "smart cities" and you'll find no shortage of sources discussing the latest in sensor technology, future transportation systems like straddling buses and solar-powered trains, advanced communications infrastructure… The list goes on.
And while we're as fascinated and excited by the latest technology as anyone else, we also know that the conversation needs to go much deeper than that.
The development of new cities and the overcrowding of old ones place strains on infrastructure, government, education, healthcare, finance, and the environment. Many of the globe's greatest problems – pollution, homelessness, crime, climate change – are the direct result of a world that is urbanizing more quickly than anyone can absorb. These problems threaten the quality of life for people all over the planet.
As people crowd into cities and megacities over the next decade, we need to define what makes an urban environment habitable and sustainable, and present solutions to the mounting impediments to livability. That involves answering some very difficult questions.
For example, how will inhabitants of developing cities in emerging economies who've never been served by financial institutions gain access to credit or bank accounts? How do we survive in a world that is getting increasingly hotter, when the coolants released by our air conditioning systems are contributing to global warming? How will we live in cities that don't have the capacity to house us?
At UBM's Future Cities, we are certain that finding the answers to these questions (and many, many more) is crucial to our ability to survive and thrive in an urbanized world.
The good news is we are in the best possible position to lead this discussion.
For starters, we've invited more than 100 of the world's leading experts in urbanization to come on board as contributing bloggers and share their approaches to civic problems. This is the only destination on the Web where on any given day you can read content from the world's most forward-thinking mayors, city planners, business leaders, analysts, and educators – and chat with them directly on the message boards.
We also know that global urbanization is a global problem, which is why our community of expert bloggers embraces individuals from all over the world who are best positioned to talk about the urban environments they are directly developing, supporting, and living in. Who better to speak to sustainable transportation systems in Asia than the Chief Engineer of Transportation in Singapore? And who better to address India's sustainable challenges than the President of India's Smart Grid Forum?
You'll find these individuals and more than 100 others on our remarkable list of bloggers. These are all urbanization leaders who value the importance of being a part of this community and recognize the urgent need to elevate the conversation about future, livable cities.
Finally, here at UBM's Future Cities, we've made it our mission to not only recruit the brightest minds in global urbanization to share their expertise and insights, but to maintain a commitment to quality. That's why we're insisting that every piece of content we run comprises four critical elements that are too often missing in discussions of sustainable cities: technology, business, feasibility, and people.
With that in mind, there are certain things you won't find here – things like excessive hype about solutions that aren't pragmatic or feasible.
And we're happy to have you hold us to that standard. Have you got feedback for our contributors or thoughts about our site? Send an email anytime to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you.
Editor in Chief
As the Editor in Chief of UBM's Future Cities, Nicole Ferraro will be responsible for setting the tone of the site through blogs and video blogs, inviting and working with all contributors, and managing the site's content – among other duties.
Previously, Nicole was the Editor in Chief of UBM's Internet Evolution. Under her stewardship, Internet Evolution was the recipient of an array of awards and honors, including the 2011 Outstanding Website WebAward from the Web Marketing Association; the 2011 Min's WOW award for 60 Days of Executive Education (6DEE); the 2011 Min's Integrated Marketing Award for Best B2B Customized Site/Microsite Award; and the 2010 Eddie Award for Best B2B Technology/Computing/Telecom Website. One of her highest honors was having her made-up Internet-malady, Social Networking Anxiety Disorder (SNAD), picked up by David Pogue in The New York Times.
For her work on Internet Evolution, Nicole was one of the winners of Min's 2011 People to Watch Awards.
Nicole received her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from Fordham University in 2006 and 2007, respectively, where she studied Communications and Creative Writing. She's performed in various storytelling shows; and her non-fiction personal essays have been published in several outlets including The New York Times, Our Town, The Story Collider Magazine, and Mr. Beller's Neighborhood, among others.
Mary Jander comes to UBM's Future Cities from Internet Evolution, where she was Executive Editor. Previously, she was Site Editor of Byte and Switch and a longtime Senior Editor of Light Reading. She has spent over 27 years reporting and writing on information technology and networking, including nine years on the senior editorial team of Data Communications magazine. Mary also spent many years as a freelance copy editor for a range of book publishing companies. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and business from City College of New York and Marymount/Fordham, Tarrytown. She now lives in rural Nova Scotia, where her hobbies include fly fishing and seal beating.
Rich Heap has written for UBM's Future Cities since it launched and became Community Editor in April 2013. Based in the UK, he has been reporting on the property sector since 2005.
Previously, Rich spent five years at UBM’s award-winning commercial property magazine Property Week, most recently as Assistant Editor. He was part of the team that twice won the PPA’s Weekly Magazine of the Year award, as well as the AOP’s Best Editorial Team and Business Website awards. Since then, Rich has spent 18 months at the Sunday Times Fast Track, managing research for its Tech Track 100 programme of the UK’s fastest-growing privately owned technology firms.
Raised in London, Rich gained a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Southampton in 2004, and a Postgraduate Diploma in magazine journalism from London’s City University in 2005. He now lives in Oxford, where his interests include messing about with his daughter and sneaking time on the Xbox 360.