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Report highlights cities’ public engagement gap

The research canvassed the views of over 10,000 people across 10 global cities on how they feel about their city’s infrastructure.


Infrastructure company AECOM has released its second annual global infrastructure report, The Future of Infrastructure: Voice of the People.


The research captures data and opinions from 10,000 residents across 10 major global cities — Chicago, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, New York, Riyadh, Singapore, Sydney and Toronto.


Key findings of the research, carried out by Longitude of behalf of AECOM, include:


There is a clear public engagement gap: The report finds that most of the cities underperform when it comes to engaging with their citizens on infrastructure, with an aggregate global average of 3.3 out of 10. It is highest in Mumbai (5.9) and lowest in Sydney, Chicago and Hong Kong (2.7 each).


Respondents said they want a more focused interaction.


Residents want to help — and some are willing to pay: Almost half (46 per cent) of respondents overall said they are willing to share personal data to help city agencies improve infrastructure and services.


Almost half of respondents said they are willing to share personal data to help city agencies improve infrastructure and services.


In several cities (37 per cent of respondents globally), residents indicated a willingness to pay higher taxes to fund infrastructure improvements.


Boosting resilience against cyber-attacks is a pressing concern: More respondents have confidence in their city’s ability to protect infrastructure against natural disasters and terrorist attacks than those who do not.


However, just 32 per cent have confidence in their city’s defences against cyber-attacks.


Wanted, more private-sector involvement: 63 per cent of respondents said they believe the private sector should be more involved in the development of infrastructure because it could contribute to the financing, development and management of better infrastructure.


Upgrading public transportation and enhancing environmental sustainability are top improvement priorities: Upgrading public transportation — particularly roads and underground rail — is the top infrastructure priority for those surveyed.


Improving environmental sustainability, through solar power, recycling and waste-water reuse initiatives, for example, is a close second and tops five cities’ to-do lists.


Call to action


Michael S. Burke, AECOM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Residents of cities around the world want greater say in infrastructure planning, and they are growing impatient with delays in the delivery of modern infrastructure systems that can improve mobility, connectivity and quality of life.


"Their views should be a call to action for wider government engagement, and new public and private partnerships that can advance ideas, funding and advocacy, and speed the projects that lead to growth and urban well-being.”


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