In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast, Zoe has a fascinating and really great conversation with Cornelia Levy-Bencheton and Mike Barlow, the authors of the book “Smart Cities, Smart Futures: Showcasing Tomorrow.” Cornelia and Mike tell us about their backgrounds and how they became so passionate about the Smart City and Smart Community space. They share with us their desire to educate and inspire people about these concepts so that we can collectively be more engaged citizens, have a more effective and empowered democracy, and solve problems both big and small in our communities, cities, countries and the world.
Cornelia and Mike share examples of Smart Concepts being used in real places, why being engaged citizens is so important, and what they see as the six facets of a Smart City. This was a longer interview that usual, so we’ve split the conversation into two parts. You will hear Part 1 today and stay tuned for part 2. As always, we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it!
Listen here: 

What we cover in this episode:

  • The respective backgrounds of Cornelia and Mike and their passion for the Smart City concepts
  • What a Smart City is to them, and why they feel it’s so important
  • The power of citizen engagement
  • How Cornelia and Mike feel the US in embracing Smart concepts
  • Some examples of Smart Concepts in action
  • The 6 facets of a Smart City
  • The importance of taking control of our data
  • Why Transportation and Mobility is the thing that touches all of us


“Instead of writing about technology infrastructure, we write about that, but we also wrote about social infrastructure…What we found was to make a Smart City work, you need Smart Government, Smart Politics and Smart Citizens – not necessarily in that order.” ~ Mike

“Smart Cities empowers people and through participating in civic actions they find their Citizen voice. A Smart City and Community includes people and it helps people become better citizens. It helps people become involved, engaged and active in their own community and community governments. It’s problem solving but he residents and the citizens who will be impacted by the creative solution of these problems.” ~ Cornelia

“An inclusive and diverse community, in fact and ecosystem, that includes multiple different players, agencies, entities, governments, private enterprises, citizenry of all levels and types all collaborating to make a better world. The idea is that it enables interactions between citizens and their governments with the purpose of improving the world, improving urban life.” ~ Cornelia

“Being a good citizen is really important. It’s not something trivial. It’s something that’s good for your neighbourhood, your town, your city, your state, your region, your country and it’s good for the world. Everybody needs to participate and have their voice in the mix. To us we see it as the beginnings of a new form of social democracy that works and where people are engaged and involved and speak up.” ~ Mike

“All those areas [economy, government, environment, living, people, mobility] are interconnected. They all use information and communication technologies, they all rely on sensors, they all rely on open source platforms, on high volume data collection and analytics. And when they all work together, it’s what’s called a system of systems.” ~ Cornelia


“Smart Cities, Smart Futures: Showcasing Tomorrow” by Mike and Cornelia

“The death and life of great American cities” by Jane Jacobs


Connect with Cornelia on LinkedIn or on Twitter @bencheton

Connect with Mike on LinkedIn or on Twitter @mike7pilot

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My Smart Community

My Smart Community offers consulting and media services with a focus on making our communities more accessible, liveable and sustainable for all. We have a focus on Smart Mobility, Smart project management, Smart technology in regional communities, dealing with disruption and facilitating genuine collaboration. As well as podcast production, communication and media advisory and engagement, keynote speaking, moderating, master of ceremonies and workshop design and facilitation.

The Smart Community Podcast

The Smart Community Podcast is a hub where smart and exciting people from all around the world come to discuss all things Smart City, Smart Town, Smart Region - anything that makes a place more liveable. Together we can create our own Smart Communities.


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