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Making Cities “Future Proof”

Dr. Amy Hochadel helps local leaders in cities around the world predict the future. While she doesn’t read tarot cards for a living, the global cities lead at Future Cities Catapult in London, England does work to create the systems and processes that will assist cities in properly planning for and meeting 21st century challenges. These include everything from urban mobility, creating more climate resilient cities, and improving the built environment to boosting high tech economic development and increasing entrepreneurship.

“Cities offer the perfect laboratory for policy innovation and experimentation because small changes can have big impacts that can be measured, assessed and then, where appropriate, transferred to other communities across the globe,” Hochadel says. “Our team seeks to create new ways for addressing old problems while also bringing the next and best global transformations in the environment, technology and trade sectors to local communities.”

Hochadel, who received her Master’s in Diversity Management from Cleveland State University, followed by her PhD from King’s College London, is currently working with the government of India to develop a National Innovation Hub for India’s 100 Smart Cities. The initiative seeks to connect the nation’s 100 largest cities through an online hub of virtual and physical programs that can disseminate best practices and new innovations to make communities smarter and more flexible in addressing change. The hub will be the first to connect 100 cities across an entire nation while also acting as a mechanism to bring global best practices and global businesses to the subcontinent.

“India is still an emerging nation and cities across the country are working to better serve their citizens’ social and economic needs, while at the same time trying to attract global investment and develop postmodern exporting economies,” Hochadel says. “Through Future Cities we advise local leaders on how to best accomplish these dual goals, while also providing a forum for global information sharing and knowledge development.”

Hochadel also works with local leaders in numerous other cities and countries, including The United Arab Emirates, Oman and cities across the European Union and the United Kingdom, to increase innovation capacity and improve community, economic and educational development. The Catapult Program is partially funded by the British government and seeks to promote research and development through business-led collaboration between scientists, engineers and policy makers. Future Cities is one of thirteen Catapult Centres, which also include initiatives focused on cell and gene therapy, high value manufacturing and renewable energy.

Hochadel stresses that the cross cultural communication skills she learned as part of her program at CSU are essential to working effectively in foreign nations where cultural and language differences can often complicate communication and make team building more difficult.

“Learning how to communicate with people who have different perspectives has been invaluable in the work I do, and has made me much more effective as a manager,” Hochadel adds. “The training I received at CSU has truly been invaluable and I literally use those skills every day."

Her new book, Local Leadership in a Global Era, which documents new policies and leadership in global cities, is due out in spring 2017.