- Published: 11 January 2022
We have been writing, convening and thinking much for the last two years about Covid-induced or accelerated consequences for our cities and towns. As I listened to the Barcelona Smart City Expo session on Revitalizing Our Cities as a Cisco partner, it helped me solidify the meaningful lessons smart city leaders should consider from our recent experiences as a collective society. These lessons also include how to re-launch economies via technology and innovation, social progress and comprehensively constructed initiatives.
1. Vision And Government Matter More Than Ever
The responses to Covid illustrated more than ever the critical role of government in a complex, interconnected world. Availability of medical and protective supplies, access to vaccinations, rules to protect us, changes in service delivery and on and on, have been disrupted, challenged, and reconfigured in all cases using digital systems and analytics. Indeed, we needed the private sector to innovate and deliver, but within processes encouraged and often financed by government.
Vision needs to frame these responses in terms of priorities that involve digitalization, climate change, inclusivity, safety and public health. According to Soo-Jin Kim Deputy Head of the Cities, Urban Policies and Sustainable Development Division OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship #POLICIES #BETTERLIVES these multiple challenges cause us to focus even more broadly on a new urban paradigm – for example, the shift in urban planning from mobility to accessibility. Instead of a focus on moving people as fast as possible from one place to another, let’s help make goods and services accessible to where people are located. The concept of the 5-Minute City demonstrates a real shift in urban planning – jobs, education, healthcare and cultural need to be accessible to most people.
Data allows us to see, analyze and develop more cross-cutting priorities. In the words of Cassie Roach, Vice President, Global Public Sector Cisco Systems, it will not only be possible but mandatory to dynamically manage more than one goal at a time – for example taking on climate change, inclusivity and the digital divide concurrently.
2. The Digital Gap Is Pervasive and Consequential
The inequity of, and necessity for, broadband services was apparent before the pandemic, but this disconnect morphed into a stark reality during Covid lockdown. As Miguel Gamino EVP, Enterprise Partnerships & Head of Global Cities for MasterCard emphasized, this issue of access went from some level of consequence to being critically urgent. Cities that don’t offer digitization will suffer and create two factions—the homework gap becomes an education gap, and a work from home without access to internet becomes a work opportunity gap crisis. Digital equity encompasses the basic opportunity to secure health care and work and educate from home--fundamental aspects of daily life.
Ajay Nagabhushan: Secretary to Government for Urban Development State of Karnataka – Bangalore feels we will benefit if we take the lessons from the pandemic and turn them into an opportunity. He sees this new emphasis on connectivity as a chance to: “take this energy and keep going forward.”
3. Trust Is More Than A Catchy Word
We are confronted daily with the cost of distrust—from vaccine hesitancy to resistance to many sensible government initiatives. Well visualized, understandable and transparent information transmitted into a connected world will help. As Cassie Roach notes “Trust is the currency in the digital age.” Connectivity creates the means to generate distrust. Officials and community leaders in turn then need to consider how to use new digital processes to overcome distrust whether of leaders or even between neighboring communities.
Policies can no longer be simply imposed but need to include community involvement and alignment in a deeper and broader sense. Soo-Jin Kim calls attention to the need for partnership and co-creation. Digitally enabled platforms and services can help in co-design and co-creation. The San Francisco City Bridge platform and the Green Participatory Budgeting - Lisbon are examples of broader participation tools that produce trust.
These methods combined with spatial visualization of data or anonymous sentiment mining to react to neighborhood concerns creates feedback loops that enhances trust.
4. It’s About People Not Just Fiber and Speed
The digital transformation of cities isn’t just about digits or speed. The transformation is in fact about delivering a better quality of life and the chance to make cities and towns more resilient, sustainable and livable. As noted by Miguel Gamino it’s “not just about the infrastructure--delivering the availability of broadband is one thing, but we also need to make sure people know how to use it--digital literacy. Who decides in the family that they will pay for access may not be the one who benefits from it – so we need to explain why their child needs broadband for their education.” @MICHAELGAMINO @CITYPOSSIBLE #SCEWC21 #DIGITALDIVIDE
Ajay Nagabhushan tells us to for example to first focus on education, starting with the teachers and what they need, then focus on the students. He provides examples of the education department first creating a platform for teachers with lessons then accompanied by prioritized access to students with laptop distribution. Within the Karnataka health sector, most hospitals and practitioners learned together – and are now using Telehealth.
The pandemic brought out city innovations in connectivity and in a range of responses such as health care. But it also stimulated new data and IoT informed responses to land use--pop up sidewalk cafes and cycle lanes for example. Innovations in public private partnerships that build on these principles have to potential to power a more inclusive future and a higher quality of city life.
Autor(en)/Author(s): Stephen Goldsmith
Quelle/Source: Linked in, 03.01.2022