top of page

Smart Cities Panel

Simon Fraser University Wosk Centre for Dialogue

580 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1L6
Thursday April 4, 2024
9:30am-1pm PST

Thought leaders from business and academia will come together to discuss the road to net zero, and the part that cities have to play across a range of industries. 

Smart & Sustainable Cities:

What is the way forward?

There is an urgent need for decarbonization to achieve Net Zero by 2040 also in the cities, this goes hand in hand with the energy (increasing energy efficiency and sufficiency, switching to renewable energy supply, renovating buildings) and mobility (expanding sustainable mobility modes such as pedestrian and bicycle transport as well as public transport instead of fossil fueled individual transportation) transition. Cities account for 66% of global energy demand and 70% of carbon emissions.

The goal of the panel is to provide a practical look at moving towards net zero carbon targets within city premises. Participants from Switzerland and Western Canada will discuss new research directions, and share experiences, diverse perspectives, and ideas, particularly on how to address the pressing challenges on the way of making cities more resilient and sustainable.


Kristi Shalla 

Innovation Commissioner, Swiss Business Hub USA

Kristi Shalla is a Senior Smart City Consultant with 15 years of development experience in the US, Asia and Europe. She is an expert in global economic development and building innovative ecosystems and currently holds the position of Innovation Commissioner at the Embassy of Switzerland in Washington DC. Before relocating to DC in 2020, Kristi was Head of Project Development at the Center for Innovation in Transport (CENIT) in Barcelona where she built public and private partnerships in transport and smart city research for projects around the globe. Kristi is an experienced speaker, lecturer and contributor on the topic of urban mobility, smart city development and international expansion. She is also the co-author of the book Seoul: Tale of a Smart City, coming out in April 2024.


Vicente Carabias

Professor, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) / Smart City Responsible, City of Winterthur

Vicente Carabias is a Professor of the School of Engineering and the Deputy Head of the ZHAW Institute of Sustainable Development, where he coordinates the Sustainable Energy Systems and Smart Cities research group. He coordinates the ZHAW Platform Smart Cities & Regions for the implementation of Smart Sustainable Cities. Since completing Master Studies in Environmental Sciences at the ETH Zurich in 1996, he has been involved in sustainability research, services, and teaching (Technology Foresight) at ZHAW. Since 2019, he has supported the transformation of the City of Winterthur as the Smart City Responsible. Winterthur was one of the first Swiss cities to adopt a Smart City strategy in 2018. He manages WinLab, the Living Lab of the City of Winterthur, which offers the systematic testing of social and technological innovations in public-private-people partnerships and he is the contact person for WinLab collaborations in applied research and innovation development.

Vicente Carabias 2.webp

Leanne Sawatzky

Executive Director (Interim) for Renewable Cities, SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue

Leanne Sawatzky, Interim Executive Director of Renewable Cities, a special initiative of Simon Fraser University’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, brings 15+ years of experience dedicated to fostering sustainable, livable and resilient communities. She leads the strategic direction of Renewable Cities, with a focus on supporting smart growth for compact, complete, livable and resilient communities through innovative housing and transportation solutions. Leanne's expertise and leadership is characterized by a commitment to systems-thinking, dialogue and collaboration for robust and durable solutions. Leanne holds a Bachelor of Science in Global Resource Systems and a Master of Arts in Conflict Transformation.

Leanne Sawatzky.webp

Sandra Phillips

Founder & CEO, movmi

Born and raised in Switzerland, Sandra has been working on shared mobility since 2010, when she introduced car2go to the Canadian market. Previously Sandra held Senior Management and Executive roles with Fortune 500 companies. In 2014 she founded movmi and has been privileged to be involved in over 80 on-demand shared mobility projects worldwide. She is a part-time lecturer with University St. Gallen (Switzerland) and EiT Urban Mobility (EU) on the subject and is part of Canadian’s Expert panel autonomous vehicles. Her work in shared mobility has garnered her a TED talk, a Clean50 award and the 2021 Change Maker Award by BCBusiness. She is an advocate not only for shared mobility but also for more diversification of the workforce in transportation: she’s a jury member for C40 Women for Climate network and UITP and launched the EmpowerWiSM award – an award that recognises female founders in transportation and shared mobility. She volunteers her time as a jury member for C40 Women for Climate network, UITP and Connect the Coast.

Sandra Phillips.webp
bottom of page