Episode Archive

SCP E278 Being Agile and Flexible in The City of Philadelphia, with Emily Yates

Hi #smartcommunity friends! In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast I have a great conversation with Emily Yates who is the Smart City Director for the City of Philadelphia. Emily begins by telling us about her varied background that began in Landscape Architecture to how she ended up working in Smart Cities with the City of Philadelphia, before Emily explains what a Smart Community means to her. Emily then discusses some of the differences in Smart City concepts between Europe and the US, we discuss the importance of flexibility and agility in order to embrace Smart Community concepts, before Emily shares with us a bit about some of the projects the City of Philadelphia have been working on. Emily then discusses the City of Philadelphia’s approach to Smart City projects and Emily shares a little bit more about one of her favourite current projects. We finish our chat discussing the emerging trends of how tech can assist our ageing societies and the importance of investing in those technologies now. 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:

  • Emily’s varied background beginning in Landscape Architecture and how that lead to working in Smart Cities in Philadelphia
  • What a Smart Community means to Emily 
  • Some of the differences in Smart City concepts between Europe and the US 
  • The importance of flexibility and agility to embrace Smart Community concepts 
  • A bit about some of the projects Emily has been working on with the City of Philadelphia
  • The City’s approach to implementing Smart City projects 
  • A bit more about one of Emily’s favourite projects and what it involves 
  • The emerging trends of how technology can help our ageing societies and the importance to invest in those technologies now 


“[Smart Communities] is, how can we use innovative tech and data to create government efficiencies that allow us as a city to better deliver services to our community, but also improve the quality of life for all of our residents. So really keeping that human centered equity focus as we move forward with technology.”

“A lot of my work on a day to day basis is managing fear of change and fear of risk, and really you know, we’re not taking on that much risk. We’re mitigating it where possible.”

“Governmentally, from the EU, down to the local governments, there’s a clear directive, the federal government [in the EU] has taken on Smart Cities as a concept. And it trickles down in terms of funding and acceptance of that technology. We don’t have as much of that clarity here in the United States.”

“[Permitting Wizard] builds trust with our community, which is ultimately what we want to try to do, and to support our community.”

“The way [The City of Philadelphia] comes up with our projects is we really try to identify a municipal challenge. And so we have working groups that help us identify that, but also conversations with my colleagues to hear some of the things that they’re working through or trying to address.”

“Less aggravated citizens are always a benefit to the city. And we want people to feel like they can do business with the city. So if we make that process much more transparent, much more easily approachable, and provide access points.”

“So my big obsession lately is the silver tsunami that’s coming. And how are we dealing with these ageing, baby boomers and utilising technology to help them age in place and continue to access services so that there’s not a massive impact on our systems. I think that that’s something we’re really focused on, I don’t think we’re focused enough on that, honestly, in terms of how telehealth and the ageing in place and accessing public transit so that they’re still able to be mobile.”


City of Philadelphia 


Find the full show notes at: www.mysmart.community 

Connect with Emily via email: emily.yates@phila.gov, LinkedIn or Twitter 

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community  

Connect with My Smart Community via LinkedIn or Twitter and watch on YouTube

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Perk Digital


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SCP E301 Where to Next for Smart Cities and Communities Part 27

SCP E301 Where to Next for Smart Cities and Communities Part 27

Hi #smartcommunityfriends! I’m back with another bonus episode of the Smart Community Podcast sharing various guests answers to the question, ‘Where to next with Smart Cities and Communities?” And this time I’m sharing with you the answers from these guests: ...

Episode Archive


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