The American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK) in conjunction with the International Workshop of the Arab-German Young Academy of Sciences and Humanities (AGYA) held a two-day conference entitled Smart and Sustainable Cities: Towards Sustainable Development Solutions.
The conference opened with welcome speeches by Professor Stephen Wilhite, AURAK provost and senior VP of academic affairs and student success, and Dr Ahmad Sakhrieh, an AGYA alumnus.
Over two days, five sessions packed with presentations followed, with contributors from Europe and the Arab world on smart and sustainable cities.
Smart cities collect data and then use insights gained from it to manage assets, resources and services efficiently.
The first session, Urban Infrastructure: Buildings, Energy, Utilities, Resilience, saw an presentation from Samy Ben-Jaafar, the CEO of Dubai Green Fund.
In Smart Connections with Investors, he pointed out that many good engineering ideas fail to attract funding from investors because the people behind them do not convincingly explain how the innovation will have a path to profitability.
He emphasised that pitching to investors to get finance is very different to obtaining it from the government because of the need to explain how it will make money.
The second set of presentations on the first day of the conference was centered on the theme of Smart Mobility: Transportation & Autonomous Systems.
Day two of the conference saw a group of talks on the theme of Smart Environments: Transfer and Technologies.
Dr Osama Ayadi, from the University of Jordan, presented on Sustainable Campuses: The Role of Solar Energy, detailing how his university has equipped its campus with solar technology and saved large amounts of money on its electricity bill in a country where almost all energy is imported.
AURAK's Tawfiq Abu Hantash, Associate Professor from the Department of Architecture, talked about the Ras Al Khaimah Zero Energy House: AURAK Solar Decathlon, the effort to design a solar-powered house as part of a competition.
The final session of presentations revolved around the idea of Smart Planning: Urban Analysis & Urban Passenger Transportation System.
AURAK is a nonprofit, government-owned institution of higher education which provides the local, regional and international communities with a North American-style education integrated with Arab customs and traditions.