Women in Smart Cities Forum

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As a female-founded smart city company, we want to see more women lead our cities. Today, just 19 of the 100 largest cities in the U.S. are led by female mayors. 

To help change this statistic, Bloomberg Government is hosting events like the Women in Smart Cities Forum and organizing female leaders that are changing cities for the better to do more together. 

The conversations during the Forum focused on key topics like how best to connect with citizens using the latest technologies, how to finance infrastructure to bridge the gap between the digital and physical world, and how to effectively plan for the future given the current political climate and rapid pace of change with smart city technologies. 

We were particularly interested in the conversation around financing infrastructure and how important it is to get citizen buy in. We experience this every day in our work with our partner cities like Atlanta, Boston, and Las Vegas when we introduce the Soofa Sign to the next great neighborhood in each city. 

Some of the key learnings we've taken away from our work with our partner cities when it comes to getting citizen buy in, include: 

  • Delivering services that will actually improve the experience of living in a neighborhood or visiting a neighborhood someone is less familiar with. Our Signs help do this by sharing up to date information about events nearby, next bus, train, or rideshare wait times, city services like 311, and hyperlocal advertisements from businesses in the neighborhood. 
  • Involve citizens in the decision making process early and often - especially when it comes to deploying new infrastructure. This means taking the time to attend community meetings and actually listen to what residents want. We need to remember when we are talking about placing something real in the public right of way, it impacts how people live everyday. At Soofa, we are a team of city dwellers, and for every new project we take on or Sign we place in the wild, we think about how it would impact us if we lived next to it. 

We're looking forward to more events like the Women in Smart Cities Forum and will continue to work hard to help get more women into civic leadership roles. 

Our CEO Sandra Richter, pictured on the right, recently attended the U.S. Conference of Mayors event in Boston, spending an evening with leading female Mayors from across the country discussing the role of smart city technologies in their cities. 

The most important step is starting a conversation and showing results. Let us know if you have a story about a woman making an impact in local government, we'd love to feature it on our blog.