Sister cities, smart cities… how about smart sister cities?

Wed, 2013-08-21 06:09 -- Liz Enbysk

A report out of Palo Alto, California has the city council there forging a new model for international partnerships that focus on "mutually established metrics" relating to entrepreneurship, information technology, online public services and smart mobility. While the cultural and educational exchanges that Sister City programs have fostered for decades are still relevant, having a few "smart sisters" in the mix makes a lot of sense today.


It was 1963, according to Palo Alto Online, when the city signed its first Sister City agreement with a city in the Philippines. The nature of the relationship was primarily to promote cultural and educational exchanges.

But today Palo Alto city leaders see advantages in forging relationships with more business and economic potential

Late last year the city inked its first "Smart City" partnership with the Yangpu District of Shanghai, China, which is shedding its garment district past to become a technology hub. That's more in keeping with Palo Alto, a tech-savvy city that is home to Stanford University.

And earlier this month, the Palo Alto City Council approved a partnership with Heidelberg, Germany. According to Palo Alto Online, the purpose is to "exchange ideas and value, especially in areas of environmental sustainability and innovation-driven economic development."

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