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Hacking Cities for a Better, Sustainable Tomorrow

#sxsw #SmartCity


U.S. cities, often resource-strapped and perceived as slow to adapt, are not known as havens for digital innovation. However, leaders are emerging in and outside government institutions that are passionate about applying web-based technologies to address this reputation. Cities, overcoming budgetary roadblocks with digital solutions, are increasing engagement and enhancing efficiencies to improve civic accountability and management. Costly infrastructure investment is still a hurdle most cities can’t climb, but the most impactful innovation, not tied to big government or global corporations, is often driven by inspired individuals looking to solve problems in their communities: a neighborhood watch mobile application or a tool that makes better commute options accessible. Join us to discuss this emerging wave of place-based, localized innovation, spurred through a convergence of public, private and nonprofit efforts, to create smarter, more sustainable cities – one app at a time.



I'm a senior editor for TIME magazine, focusing on international affairs. I also cover energy and environmental issues for the magazine.

Abhi Nemani Chief of Staff Code for America

Abhi Nemani is the Chief of Staff at Code for America, a national non-profit dedicated to reinventing government for the 21st century. Abhi has led CfA’s strategic development and growth, including the development of multiple new programs including the launch of a first-of-its-kind civic startup accelerator and the CfA Peer Network, designed to connect cities to help them work together. Under Abhi's direction, CfA's national outreach and awareness campaigns have been recognized in the New York Times, Mashable, and CNN, and he has been featured as a speaker at SxSW, the World Bank, and various universities and conferences around the world.

Erika Diamond VP Community Solutions Recyclebank

Erika is the Vice President of Community Solutions at Recyclebank, a NYC based company that rewards people for taking every day green actions with discounts and deals from local and national businesses. She currently heads up the community focused portion of the product team focusing on the curbside recycling product. Previously, Erika was VP of Business Development at ThinkEco, a NY based start-up developing smart plug-load technologies, where she lead the company's sales, partnership and retail efforts. She is also Co-Founder and President of the Harvard Business School Green Business Alumni Association. She has 10+ years in business development and marketing for green companies and investors. Previously, Erika consulted for an environmentally focused private investor group as well as various online businesses, developing market opportunities, sourcing companies and managing partner relationships. She worked with the strategy and marketing consulting firm Green Order, where her clients included GE and Office Depot. Erika worked in Belize for the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment, including three years as the Director of Tourism Business and Development. She earned a BA in environmental studies from Vassar College, a MESc from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Rachel Haot Chief Digital Officer City of New York