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Towards a smart and sustainable Astana

Philippe Forêt participated in the organization of two international conferences related to Expo 2017, on June 11-14 and on June 12-15. The two leading institutions that joined us for these events were Nazarbayev University and the Zurich University of Applied Sciences. Swissnex and swissuniversities provided the financial support needed for all our participants. “Towards Smart Sustainable Cities” was the title we chose for our seminar at Nazarbayev University, which followed a parallel session we held at the Ministerial Conference & the 8th International Forum on Energy for Sustainable Development.

The delegation from Zurich, Berne, Lucerne, and Lugano had exchanges with the professors and students of the School of Engineering of NU, with who they discussed smart governance, smart energy systems, smart buildings, smart transportation, and finally smart waste and water management. We believe that the challenges of the 21st century can be addressed at the city level. Cities can promote techniques for energy transition and educate their populations about mobility, efficiency, and recycling. The concept of Smart Cities results in new opportunities for intelligent networking. Our integrated approaches have proposed solutions for the knowledge society, and addressed the conditions needed for better life quality, public involvement, and resource consumption. Philippe Forêt and Andrey Filchenko (LLL) gave lectures on the governance of strategic metals and on the discourse held on energy.

On these topics, historians may enjoy titles like Daniel A. Barber’s new Modern Architecture and Solar Energy in the Cold war (Oxford University Press, 2016), and Richard W. Unger, ed. Energy Transition in History : Global Cases of Continuity and Change (Rachel Carson Center Perspectives, 2013). The involvement of HPRS in these emerging areas for interdisciplinary research is in response to invitations made by government ministries, public research agencies, and private corporations that seek the views of humanists and social scientists on pressing concerns and global issues. The announcements made at the two conferences have been followed by a roundtable and meetings on bilateral cooperation with Switzerland, and by invitations to join ministerial discussions on the creation in Astana of a United Nations center on green energy : http://astanatimes.com/2017/06/green-energy-development-centre-massive-solar-power-investment-announced-at-sustainable-energy-ministerial-conference/

More information and the presentations held on the days of the conference can now be found online on the conferences’ official website: https://www.zhaw.ch/index.php?id=8507&no_cache=1