Let’s learn from global ‘smart cities’

If Reno is going to expand, it has to expand smart.

I once had the opportunity to sit next to the Dean of the College of Business at a luncheon. I asked him for career advice. I will never forget what he said next.

The Dean told me that while in Singapore, he paid about 50 cents for the best foot massage in his life. After this foot massage, he walked on clouds. He swore that he would fly to Singapore again just for that foot massage. I was hooked.

Yet, the point of this story is not to recount how a cheap foot massage called me to Singapore. Rather, I am interested in how Singapore enchanted a person to the point where he would find any small excuse to return.

Lexi Robertson
The pure joy of travel! Photo in London captured by Kassidy Hardgrove.

There are more reasons why I am interested in Singapore. I work in the land development sector of civil engineering, and assist in developing building designs all over Nevada and California.

Reno, Nevada, where the University of Nevada is located, is currently in the middle of an identity crisis. Aside from suburbia, virtually every area of Reno is being expanded upon or developed currently.

Here’s the catch- Reno has topography with boundaries that cannot be expanded past: the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Most cities, for example, Houston, are able to limitlessly expand and sprawl out.

But if Reno is going to expand, it has to expand smart.

Travel is about connecting with people who are different from you. Photo by Kassidy Hardgrove

As an engineer, I am directly involved in the process of Reno’s expansion in my everyday life. Going to Singapore will enable me to learn firsthand of the design of a “smart” city, Singapore. The mass development of Reno offers an opportunity to redesign our city to avoid problems of longer commutes, higher rents, manufactured foods, and fewer opportunities.

Could Reno become a Smart City?

While visiting Singapore, I plan to study their innovative designs, which created a walkable and bike-able city. Transportation is a huge problem rising with Reno’s population.

Unless global research and planning prevents this problem, Reno’s growth could result in traffic which diminishes the quality of life for residents. Singapore is renown for excellent public transportation, which helps the city achieve green energy standards, reduce pollution, and increase public safety.

Lexi Robertson
I promise to take lots of photos in Singapore to share with you Caminantes!

To be a competitive professional in an ever-increasing global environment, it is imperative to work with people from different cultures. Interacting with locals who live and work in Singapore will offer me the opportunity to learn about what citizens value in the design of a smart city.

I am excited to share the lessons I learn with you all. So, Caminantes, keeping my mission in mind, any suggestions for what I must-do while in Singapore? Besides a foot massage, of course.

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