By Alicia Cook
color:windowtext">Bloomfield College President Richard A. Levao delivered the keynote address to the World Technopolis Association (WTA), a non-governmental partner of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) at its annual meeting in October, held in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. President Levao was named president of the University Presidents’ WTA last winter.
color:windowtext">The WTA has 105 members from 47 countries, consisting of research universities, colleges, municipal governments, and development agencies around the world including Brazil, Canada, China, Korea, Vietnam, Australia, India, France, Germany, Italy, and others. President Levao previously served as Chair of the College and University Presidents Council of the Association and has also delivered the keynote addresses at the WTA Conferences in South Korea and Indonesia.
color:windowtext">“It took 200,000 years for the world’s human population to reach 1 billion,” he said. “It only took another 200 years to reach 7 billion.”
color:windowtext">His keynote address, which was simultaneously translated into multiple languages, stressed the speed at which urbanization is occurring, with the majority of the world’s population living in cities only since 2009. His remarks focused on the growing need for modern “Smart City” technology in city planning and delivery of critical services, including medical, transportation, food, water, environmentally safe production, waste disposal and other concerns. He also noted the strain on global resources due to human population growth, and issue which has greatly accelerated in recent times.
color:windowtext">“We must not repeat the damage that heavy handed and massive redevelopment caused in New York City in mid-century through the excesses of central, unchecked redevelopment authorities,” he said, emphasizing that Smart Cities must recognize the need to develop in consonance with traditional cultural norms and to respect dynamic and intellectually stimulating neighborhoods and social organizations.
color:windowtext">Joining President Levao was Peter Jeong, Vice President of Global Programs & Professional Studies at Bloomfield College. They traveled to Vietnam, China, and South Korea to inform the groups of Bloomfield College’s International programs.