Amsterdam, Netherlands; San Francisco, California; Seoul, South Korea

Connected Urban Development

Client: Cisco & Clinton Global Initiative

Role: Digital transformation and innovation adviser with Cisco



Cisco’s executive chairman John Chambers identified technology innovation as a key market opportunity for 21st-century cities: “Technology is often an afterthought for city planners and real estate developers. When cities were built in the United States, gas and water were cheaply available and cities were designed mainly for cars, not people. Today, it is possible to create smart cities with intelligent networks that manage basic citizen services and replace sprawling concrete jungles fit only for cars with spaces that are walkable, bikeable, and livable.” To address this transformation, the Connected Urban Development (CUD) program was born from John Chambers's commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative.


The CUD program was launched in partnership with the mayors of Amsterdam, San Francisco, and Seoul, in recognition of the challenges and opportunities that increasing urbanization, climate change, and innovation interdependence present to 21st-century cities. With the evolution of smart city infrastructures, connectivity and collaboration between systems, institutions, and citizens have become increasingly essential to achieving urban sustainability. The activities range from strategic thought leadership to concrete projects, such as the design and development of the Urban Ecomap and the Connected Bus in collaboration with the City and County of San Francisco.


The CUD program has been building partnerships between cities worldwide that focus on sharing and applying information and communications technologies to promote innovative practices for reducing carbon emissions, while concomitantly fostering economic growth and improving the quality of life. Innovation is constantly transforming urban life, making it possible to design and manage cities in radically different ways. In 2009, the CUD program was selected as a top Benchmark of Excellence program within the continental Covenant of Mayors energy efficiency initiative by the European Commision, as well as one of the most successful commitments to the Clinton Global Initiative.