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Yann Shaw, a student of Technical University of Munich in Germany, was confident all throughout her virtual presentation of her team's project on providing a virtual space for psychological healing, by employing metaverse and blockchain technology.

"Life is a circle," she said on May 13 at an event hosted by the Seoul-based international association of city and other local governments, World Smart Sustainable Cities Organization (WeGO), explaining her team's concept of a smart city project. "It will change the traditional funeral industry… We are creating a more futuristic and peaceful way for people to acknowledge death."

Represented by Shaw, her team is one of the 20 that made the cut in the first round of the 15-week youth program, dubbed the WeGO Smart City Champions. It aims to recruit the future global urban planners from the organization's some 200 member cities around the world to gain knowledge and build consensus about the future of smart cities.

Although her team passed the first round of competition, the path for Shaw and her team and other 19 teams to become the finalists is highly competitive. Other contesting teams are from several other countries, including Korea and China.

The 20 selected teams will meet again online on May 20 for the second workshop. "This workshop will inspire WeGo Champions to spark innovative ideas and spearhead the process of translating their vision into reality," the organization said in a press release. During the May 20 event, young entrepreneurs and experts in the field of smart urbanization will share their first-hand experiences with the contenders. Another session will be held a week later.

Once the three-week workshops are completed, the contestants will present their solutions in the semifinals to be held on June 3. Among them, 10 teams will be selected as finalists and will proceed to the finals to be held on June 10.

"The 10 finalist teams will have to incorporate comments from the judges to further develop their presentations for the finals. Ultimately, three winning teams will be chosen to receive an award signed by the WeGo president and the mayor of Seoul.

The survival-of-the-fittest type of competition to nurture future leaders in the field of smart cities is the idea of WeGO Secretary General Park Jung-sook. Park said she envisions the weeks-long contest as a platform for job creation for young people.

"Through the months-long program, chosen teams and their members will have a chance to grow as future smart city leaders," she said. "This year, we've seen many innovative ideas and solutions that are based on metaverse technology and I look forward to seeing how those creative ideas can be implemented as real-world solutions."

Established by 50 founding members in 2010, WeGO is an international association of city and other local governments, smart tech solution providers and national and regional institutions committed to the transformation of cities into sustainable smart cities.


Autor(en)/Author(s): Kang Hyun-kyung

Quelle/Source: The Korea Times, 18.05.2022

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