100 people who are making cities innovative

Wed, 2013-10-16 06:00 -- Liz Enbysk

smart city innovatorsIt seems a rather daunting task to pick the 100 top city innovators around the world, but the folks at UMB's Future Cities have done just that – saluting those they say are doing the most important and aggressive work. And we're not surprised to see Smart Cities Council members among them (indicated by ** in the list below). We've highlighted a couple names from each of the 10 categories to give you an idea of the innovators who made the list. But click here to see the complete list and read a brief description of the work the top 100 are involved in; you may find some intriguing ideas to borrow for your city.

Built environment:

  • Susan Anderson, Director of Planning and Sustainability, Portland, Oregon
  • Peter Rees, Chief Planning Officer, City of London Corporation

Civic engagement:

  • Nigel Jacob, Co-chair, New Urban Mechanics, Boston
  • Christopher Whitaker, Captain of Code for America, Chicago

Energy and the environment:

  • F. Kaid Benfield, Director, Natural Resources Defense Council's Smart Growth Program **
  • Rob Bennett, Founding CEO, EcoDistricts**


  • Iñaki Azkuna, Mayor, City of Bilbao, Spain
  • Karen Freeman-Wilson, Mayor, Gary, Indiana

IT and technology:

  • Gordon Falconer, Director, Urban Innovation, Cisco **
  • Rick Robinson, Executive Architect, Smarter Cities Program, IBM **

Public spaces and regeneration:

  • Jan Gehl, Founding Partner, Gehl Architects
  • Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos, and Founder, Downtown Project


  • Marcelo Ebrard, Chair of the Steering Committee of the Global Network on Safer Cities (GNSC), UN-HABITAT
  • Cathy Lanier, Police Chief, Washington, DC


  • Jurandir Fernandes, Secretary for Metropolitan Transport, State of São Paulo
  • Projjal Dutta, Director of Sustainability, New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority **

Urban policy:

  • David Lammy, British Labour Party MP, Tottenham, UK
  • Judith Rodin, President, The Rockefeller Foundation

Most overrated:

  • Sergey Brin and the cast of Google
  • Elon Musk, Inventor of the Hyperloop

There you have just 20 of the 100; go to the Future Cities site to see the complete list.


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