With half of the world’s population living in cities and urban areas – a number that is projected to increase to seventy percent or more by the middle of the 21st century – there is a growing market for sustainable, urban infrastructure planning and development. On April 4, 2013, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) convened a Joint Member Forum with subject matter experts from standards developing organizations, industry, government, and academia to discuss the role that standards and conformance solutions can play in contributing to national and international smart cities initiatives.
The meeting, held in Arlington, Virginia, began with a review of current smart cities initiatives, moderated by Dr. John Kulick, chairman of the ANSI Company Member Forum, from Siemens Corporation, corporate technology. The distinguished group of panelists included Dr. Ari Patrinos, deputy director for research at New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP), a research and education initiative that uses urban informatics – a process of gathering and analyzing data to drive improvements in urban infrastructure planning, policies and investments. Keshav Varma, sector director of the Urban Water and Disaster Management Sector Unit at the World Bank, shared his experience as municipal commissioner of Ahmedabad, a city of six million people in India that overcame pervasive social problems through innovation, inclusivity, and enterprise. Dr. Anand J. Paul, global government industry research relationship manager, IBM Research, described his organization’s smart cities challenge program, where teams employ data-driven analysis to help cities identify challenges and solutions in areas such as municipal administration, city strategy and governance, and transportation.
Reporting on U.S. federal government initiatives, Trisha B. Miller, senior advisor, Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), provided an overview on HUD’s programs across the country in the areas of sustainable housing, green building, healthy living, and community planning and development. Rounding out the first panel was Kheng Mei Tan, senior program manager at the White House Council on Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2), a federal government initiative that helps distressed urban communities through technical assistance, capacity building, and strategic advice.
The second panel, moderated by Dr. Get Moy, chairman of the High Performance Building Council under the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), described a number of domestic and international standards development initiatives underway on smart cities. Jacques Lair, chairman of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee (TC) 268, Sustainable development in communities, gave an overview of the standards that this committee is developing on management systems, urban indicators, and smart infrastructure. He commented that it would enrich the committee’s deliberations if the United States were to become an active, participating member of the TC, in light of U.S. experience and development. Later in the discussions it was reported that ANSI had supported the committee’s formation a year ago, but there was not a critical mass of interest at that time that would enable the U.S. to form a U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) and become a participating member. It was suggested that ANSI re-assess the situation through further outreach.
Bob Usher, senior systems engineer for GE Digital Energy, representing the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Strategic Group 3 (SG3) on Smart Grid, described the SG3’s work to develop a reference model of all the IEC standards that relate to this issue. Paul Sgambati, PE, director, codes and standards, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), reported on ASCE activities to develop standards and guidelines for sustainable cities in areas as diverse as: automated people movers, green streets and roofs, mapping of underground utility lines, environmental loads on buildings including solar panel impacts, and a rating system for sustainable infrastructure planning. Rounding out panel two was Tony Giroti, founder and CEO of 1Efficiency, who described an OASIS standard that is being developed for an Energy Efficiency Information Model (EEIM).
Following the panels, there was an open discussion on what is next for ANSI and its members, led by Lee Webster, chairman of ANSI’s Organizational Member Forum and director of HR standards at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Some participants commented on the benefits of being involved in international standardization work. Others indicated they had not been aware of the extensive standards work already underway on smart cities and suggested additional organizations for outreach.
In his closing remarks, ANSI president and CEO Joe Bhatia concluded that the standards community needs to continue this dialogue with smart city initiators. He observed that there are opportunities to engage internationally and bilaterally on this issue, and there is a desire from developing economies to learn from developed countries. “The public-private partnership that is needed to develop successful standards and conformance solutions is quite obvious in this case,” said Mr. Bhatia.
The presentations from the meeting are available here. A photo gallery is available here. For further information about the event or if you are interested in participating as a member of the U.S. TAG for ISO TC 268, please contact Joseph Tretler, ANSI Senior Director, International Technical Programs and Services (ISO), at email@example.com.