Making America Great Again

All eyes are on the race for the White House ... but the real action, if you care, is what is happening in your city.

Benjamin Barber, author of If Mayors Ruled The World believes "The nation-state is failing us on the global scale."

The point Barber makes has weight. Think about it. Little seems to get done by congress, and the executive is more constrained without their cooperation, without their help. It is no surprise why people seem frustrated, angry and to have lost patience. They are looking for a savior, as if whomever we elected president can solve their concerns. It's no wonder that presidential hopefuls like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are winning primaries.


Of course, whom we elect as president is important, but whoever emerges in 2016, their role is extremely limited as to what they can accomplish with so many issues outside the domain of the President's power. Urban scholar and author Neal Pierce observed, that national economies no longer exist; only a global economy and a "constellation of regional economies, with major cities at their core." Nation States may have lost their ability to solve so many of the issues that malign us as citizens, as consumers.

As Barber and others have argued, "Cities and the mayors that run them, offer the best new forces of good governance...They are the primary incubator of the cultural, social, and political innovations which shape our planet."


As San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said at the City Innovate Summit:

"Cities today are the engines of the greatest surge in innovation, creativity and problem solving in human history ... and cities that think of themselves as platforms will become stronger, attract better talent and become smarter from the bottom up."

Fortunately, cities across America are starting to change the focus, deploy technology and prepare our citizens to out innovate, out educate and out build every other community and thus every other nation, every other community, in the world.

The strength of America's economy and as well as our political prowess in the world are inextricably linked. And it is our cities - not the Federal government - best positioned to renew and reinvent America for the new, global, knowledge-based economy.

Technology, particularly the "Internet of Everything" (IoE), where everything is connected to almost every other thing, is providing cities and their elected officials with the tools to ensure safer cities, better transportation, health care, energy and water conservation, clean air and environmental services. By installing the broadband necessary for the IoE, cities are also building the platform for innovation.


The new broadband infrastructure coupled with Big Data analysis can serve to make the city government more transparent and also encourage individuals and companies to develop innovative products and services; and importantly, as former Mayor of Indianapolis and Deputy Mayor of New York, Stephen Goldsmith and Susan Crawford, co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard have written, engage the general public to help create "efficiencies that save taxpayer money" and "build trust in the public sector."

As IBM, which launched a "smart cities initiative" in the last few years put it:

"As cities grow in both numbers and population, they are taking their place on the world's center stage, with more economic, political and technological power than ever before. Economically, they are becoming the hubs of a globally integrated, services-based society. Politically, they are in the midst of a realignment of power -- with greater influence, but also greater responsibility."

In the wake of globalization, cities across America need to step up to the plate and develop their Internet economic strategies, their broadband and IoT plans, to insure their community meets the challenge of the new age of creativity and Innovation.

The next President-whomever-needs to look to cities across America and vigorously support them.