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36 cities chosen to chart a course towards the future

The World Economic Forum has chosen the cities to pioneer a global policy roadmap developed by its G20 Smart Cities Alliance for the ethical and responsible use of data and technology.

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The roadmap aims to provide cities with a global framework to use data and technology
The roadmap aims to provide cities with a global framework to use data and technology

Thirty-six cities across 22 countries and six continents have agreed to pioneer a new roadmap for safely adopting new technology as part of the World Economic Forum’s G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance.

 

The roadmap is designed to give cities the procedures, laws and regulations they need to use new technology responsibly. The initiative originated in Japan last year from WEF’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

 

The cities will adopt policies for privacy protection, better broadband coverage, accountability for cybersecurity, increased openness of city data, and better accessibility to digital city services for disabled and elderly people

 

Confronting the challenges

 

Cities are facing urgent challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic and other major disruptions, which WEF highlights is expected to culminate in a budget crisis that could reach $1trillion in the US alone.

 

The forum contends that cities need data and innovation to become more resilient, responsive and efficient but highlights that there is no global framework for how they should use these technologies, or the data they collect, in a way that protects the public interest.

 

“This roadmap is not about theoretical ideas and pipe dreams, it is built on practical, real-world policies from leading cities around the globe,” said Jeff Merritt, head of the Internet of Things and urban transformation, World Economic Forum. “City governments are on the frontline of a global crisis and need to be able to act quickly and decisively to curtail this pandemic and set course for their economic recovery.

“This roadmap is not about theoretical ideas and pipe dreams, it is built on practical, real-world policies from leading cities around the globe”

“Technology is an essential tool in this fight but governments cannot risk falling into the usual traps related to privacy, security and vendor lock-in. That’s where the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance can help.”

 

WEF has chosen the 36 “pioneer cities” that will kickstart the roadmap and will collaborate with global experts to enhance their city policies, in areas ranging from privacy protection and cybersecurity to better services for disabled people and better broadband coverage.

 

The pioneer cities are launching their activities at the online global event Smart City Live 2020, broadcast by Smart City Expo World Congress on 17-18 November.

 

The 36 pioneer cities

 

The pioneer cities are: Apeldoorn, Netherlands; Barcelona, Spain; Belfast, UK; Bengaluru, India; Bilbao, Spain; Bogotá, Colombia; Brasilia, Brazil; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Chattanooga, US; Cordoba, Argentina; Daegu, South Korea; Dubai, UAE; eThekwini (Durban), South Africa; Faridabad, India; Gaziantep, Turkey; Hamamatsu, Japan; Hyderabad, India; Indore, India; Istanbul, Turkey; Kaga, Japan; Kakogawa, Japan; Kampala, Uganda; Karlsruhe, Germany; Leeds, UK; Lisbon, Portugal; London, UK; Maebashi, Japan; Manila, Philippines; Medellín, Colombia; Melbourne, Australia; Mexico City, Mexico; Milan, Italy; Moscow, Russia; Newcastle, Australia; San José, US; and Toronto, Canada.

 

“Technology and knowledge are two strategic assets to build inclusive, data-driven, and sustainable smart cities capable of tackling new and emerging challenges,” said Roberta Cocco, deputy mayor for digital transformation and services to citizens, Milan. “That is why Milan is joining the G20 Global Smart City Alliance, as this initiative will allow us to share best practices with innovative cities around the world.

“Technology and knowledge are two strategic assets to build inclusive, data-driven, and sustainable smart cities capable of tackling new and emerging challenges”

“Today more than ever, in fact, we need to collaborate with each other to identify the most effective tools to face global threats like Covid-19. It is only by joining our forces that we can beat this common enemy that is threatening the health, the economy, and the future of our citizens.”

 

Several orgnisations are also participating in the project, including engineering, architectural and consultancy firm, Arup. The company’s digital services leader Will Cavendish said Covid-19 has driven a step-change in the use of digital services in cities, and many of these changes will only accelerate beyond the pandemic.

 

He added: “The policies developed by the G20 Smart Cities Alliance will be fundamental in ensuring that the enabling digital connectivity and data infrastructures, along with the rapidly-emerging technology-enabled services, are deployed in an inclusive, transparent and mutually beneficial manner.”

 

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