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What comes to mind when you think of a Smart City? A city like Seoul or Yokohama, with free public wi-fi, smart, smart water meters and lamp posts, and a data-driven system of public service management? A city like Boston that uses a 311 service, a city services dashboard, and big data from citizens to make service delivery more efficient? Or a city like Maputo, which built an open source system called MOPA that uses responsive phone menus on older flip phone models to overcome the data gaps that have historically inhibited informed public policy interventions in the first place?
As you may have guessed, the answer is all of them. As the number of people moving into cities increases by unprecedented amounts (60% of the world will be urbanized by 2050), it will become even more important for cities to improve their citizens' quality of life, drive economic growth, and create a culture of innovation and competitiveness to ensure they remain dynamic hubs for growth in the future. As humanity stands on the edge of continual technological revolutions, city governments cannot ignore that a range of Smart technologies are already gathering vital information about their citizens, and that citizens themselves expect increasingly efficient and innovative services to match what they see in a world they become increasingly connected within.
To harness and scale the power of information and communication technology, city leaders and local governments are taking the initiative to work with citizens, firms and research analysts to foster ecosystems of innovation that raise their own bars higher in providing useful and efficient services and spaces for growth. These go beyondthe usual suspects— heavy investment in CCTVs, city dashboard systems, transport infrastructure, smart utilities — to include data feedback from phone apps or online platforms to improve service delivery, crowdsourcing tech innovations using local talent through hackathons and open data movements, and even crowdfunding projects with transparent, trackable targets. All these measures can go a long way in increasing not only the efficiency of existing services, but in creating an interconnected and ongoing system of growth, where changing demands (and scope) pave the way for new, citizen-defined cities.
These were some of the conclusions the Smart Cities KSB team reached in Japan last week. We were there to co-host the Smart Cities Technical Deep Dive (with the Tokyo Development and Learning Center and Competitive Cities KSB) and to attend the Asia Smart City Conference hosted by the City of Yokohama.
In the first half of the week, the Technical Deep Dive (TDD) enabled 40 client delegates to discuss how Smart Cities can go beyond high-tech or expensive innovations and foster engagement between the public and private sector, academia, and citizens to become dynamic centers of economic growth, innovation and competitiveness.
Clients were able to engage directly with Japanese academia, municipalities, ministries, the private sector — and each other — to learn about innovative smart city solutions and identify areas for future collaboration and knowledge exchange. Throughout the week, they gained exposure to cutting edge policy thinking, applied technical expertise, peer learning, networking and experience exchange, and knowledge exchange through site visits to Yokohama and Kashiwa No Ha.
To make all our efforts more fruitful, at the end of the TDD, clients used their new knowledge and connections to develop Smart City Action Plans for their own cities. The team will provide technical support to clients to connect with each other and global partners and put their action plans in motion.
The Asia Smart Cities Conference that followed was a higher-level discussion of Smart City initiatives from around the world, with illuminating panel and thematic discussions on innovative urban ecosystems and citizen engagement, quality investment infrastructure, and how smart cities can lead to innovation, competitiveness and job creation.
A full report of all the issues discussed and conclusions reached will soon follow - stay tuned to this space!
Topics: Smart Cities
Geographic Area: World
Last Modfified: 11/22/2016 12:58 PM