Bernt Svensén, Programme Director for Smart City Seminars during the Volvo Ocean Race on 20 June.
What will the seminars involve?
"The seminars will address highly pertinent topics such as digitalization, electromobility, autonomous vehicles, circular and sharing economies, and how these affect planning and urban development in smart, connected cities."
Why is the city holding the seminars?
"The City will use the Volvo Ocean Race as a plattform for sharing information regarding the development of the city. The City of Gothenburg is at the forefront when it comes to innovation and the development of smart cities, and we naturally want to discuss this in more detail. We also want to invite world-leading innovators and specialists to share their inventive thoughts about the developments taking place in cities at present. These areas in particular are experiencing incredibly rapid innovation. Not only technologically, but also in terms of business models, new ways of utilising technologies, and – not least – their impact on urban planning and city design."
The seminars will address pivotal topics. Which speakers will attend?
"Speakers from trade and industry will include Håkan Agnevall, President of Volvo Buses, and Martin Savén from UBER. We will also have speakers from the political sphere: Minister of Enterprise and Innovation Mikael Damberg, and Chair of the Municipal Board Ann-Sofie Hermansson. Several significant international organisations will also be participating with speakers. Two whom I would like to mention are Umberto Guido from the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), and Harmen Van Sprang from Sharing Cities Alliance."
There will also be panel discussions involving representatives from the business community, research and the public sector. What do you hope these will achieve?
"Numerous perspectives and opinions exist at the junction points where these areas meet, and they will need to be weighed against one another. For example, autonomous vehicles versus urban planning. Electric vehicles with their increased use of batteries versus models for circular economy. What will a sharing economy entail in terms of new business models and public and collaborative initiatives for citizens and customers? In light of these junction points, I believe we will hear some really exciting discussions!"
If I would like to attend these free seminars on 20 June, what should I do?
"Simply register at www.cometogothenburg.se. Information about speakers and programmes is all provided on the website."
Bernt, you have served as Programme Director for numerous seminars during your years at Business Region Göteborg – what is your favourite seminar memory?
"It would have to be the City of Gothenburg’s seminars during the final in-port race of the 2015 Volvo Ocean Race. The panel discussion on ‘Trends for future living’ with speakers from NASA, IKEA and the City of Gothenburg raised new, interesting questions and perspectives on sustainability. And I have truly high hopes for – at least – equally interesting discussions at this year’s seminars!"
The number of seats is limited so don't wait to book your seat.
The seminars will be held in English.