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Overcoming urbanisation challenges to ensure future meetings success

Martin Powell, Global Head of Urban Development at Siemens delivers keynote at greenmeetings and events conference.

‘We’re at a point of no return - always chasing the problem, and never getting ahead of it’. According to Martin Powell, Global Head of Urban Development at Siemens, cities across the world need to address the challenges of urbanisation in order to ensure they remain attractive locations for meetings and events. Increasing populations have impacted on cities creating pressure on the environment, infrastructure and transport.

Martin used his keynote address at the recent ‘greenmeetings and events conference’ held 9 - 10 February in Germany to outline the ‘future of the events city’.  

The conference’s host city of Frankfurt am Main was recently named as the most sustainable city in the world, followed by London and Copenhagen.  This is according to the Sustainable Cities Index by ARCADIS, a leading global natural and built asset design and consultancy organisation.  

Mr Powell’s address at the conference covered how cities can respond to current challenges to ensure a successful future. He explained that all cities are different but share the same pressures, giving examples from cities around the world which have made positive steps towards tackling these pressures. London, for instance, has a long term plan to reduce environmental and congestion problems, introducing hydrogen fuelled buses, a congestion zone and waste reduction measures.

Cities which have seen relatively recent mass urbanisation are rapidly seeking to spread their increasing population away from the city centre. New territories are being created outside cities with people able to both live and work in the same area, reducing the need for regular commuters and traffic into the city centre.  

The key to addressing issues around urbanisation is planning for the long term - devolving power to cities to enable them to implement local measures and long term solutions is crucial. In the current environment where there is increased competition between cities to host events and meetings, local knowledge is of growing importance.  

Martin ended his keynote by confirming that cities can ensure events and meetings success in the future if they put in place measures to address the issues affecting them in the present.  

Around 400 representatives of the German meetings industry - locations and conference hotels, convention bureaus as well as service providers and agencies - participated in the 3rd greenmeetings and events conference held 9 to 10 February 2015 in Frankfurt. Patron of the conference was Federal Environment Minister Dr. Barbara Hendricks.  

The conference included lectures, discussion forums and numerous case studies, with expert speakers providing guidance on the sustainable management of events.  

Held at Messe Frankfurt’s "Kap Europa" Congress Centre, the conference was organised by the German Convention Bureau (GCB) and the European Association of Event Centres (EVVC). Host was Messe Frankfurt and Tourismus+Congress GmbH Frankfurt was the conference partner.

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