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Urban Development

WEF Teams up with Cities in Michigan and Ontario for Seamless Integrated Mobility

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The World Economic Forum in partnership with Deloitte announced today a collaboration with the cities of Detroit and Ann Arbor in Michigan, USA, and Windsor, Ontario, Canada, to pilot seamless integrated mobility solutions in the region. Following a call for applications in April 2018, the three cities were selected as the primary partner out of 13 applicants from across the globe to participate in a year-long engagement. To support the innovation led by the SIMSystem partner geography, the Forum will build a community of public- and private-sector leaders to interact and exchange leading practices via a digital collaboration tool and a series of workshops.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with the cities of Detroit, Ann Arbor and Windsor – a corridor so deeply connected to the history of 20th-century mobility and commerce,” said Christoph Wolff, Head of the Mobility Industries and System Initiative and Member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum. “Each city is taking big steps to improve its community’s livability through transportation: Detroit is investing in its public transit by increasing routes and service times; Ann Arbor is fostering what will be the world’s largest real-world deployment of connected vehicles and connected infrastructure; and Windsor is developing an active transportation master plan with focus on multi-modal transportation. As SIMSystem partners, the regional sister cities will cohesively embrace the integration and innovation possibilities of 21st-century mobility,” he added.

The pilot, part of the Forum’s SIMSystem: Designing Seamless Integrated Mobility project, is the continuation of a year-long dialogue between leading private- and public-sector partners. In January 2018, the project launched the SIMSystem Manifesto proposing 10 principles for public-private collaboration. The SIMSystem Manifesto also examines how mobility providers and their regulators can integrate multiple transport modes into a seamless integrated mobility system, or SIMSystem. A SIMSystem will connect city buses, ride shares and autonomous vehicles to enhance the overall efficiency of the transport network and enable faster, safer, cleaner and more affordable mobility of people and goods.

To demonstrate the principles of the SIMSystem Manifesto, the Forum called on government leaders to improve people-and-goods mobility and launched a request for proposals in April 2018.The 13 applications – representing cities, groups of cities, regions and nations from 10 countries – were reviewed by the SIMSystem Working Group during a workshop in New York in May.

“The pool of applicants was very competitive and diverse, from small to large geographies, all in very varied states of development. They demonstrate how rapidly the future of mobility is evolving globally,” said Scott Corwin, Managing Director and Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Future of Mobility Practice Leader, Deloitte, USA. “The application from Detroit, Ann Arbor and Windsor was well received by the working group for the strong collective leadership commitment to generate measurable progress and create a global showcase for demonstrating the far-reaching impact a SIMSystem can have on the movement of people and goods.” He added: “The Deloitte Future of Mobility team supporting the Forum and Deloitte’s Detroit office working closely with leaders in Michigan are excited about what lies ahead.”

Partners from the region say they look forward to applying the SIMSystem principles to their ongoing efforts.

“Making it easier to get around will not just improve the quality of life for our residents, but also tremendously accelerate the economic growth that our city and region are currently experiencing,” said Mike Duggan, Mayor of Detroit. “We are excited to work with our partners and the experts from the World Economic Forum to better leverage the investments we are making in all aspects of mobility.”

“The City of Ann Arbor attracts an increasing number of residents and businesses. However, we are constrained to accommodate growth and deliver an exceptional mobility experience due to parking and congestion issues. The city is also trying to find ways to best address the mobility and accessibility needs of its vulnerable populations such as senior citizens,” said Ann Arbor’s Mayor Christopher M. Taylor. “Ann Arbor is an ideal environment to test the key principles of a SIMSystem. The city includes a diverse set of transportation modes, a highly progressive community, one of the top research universities in the world, and a heritage of transportation innovation.”

“In collaboration with our United States colleagues in Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan, we see a significant opportunity to enhance transportation integration and better connect the region to promote economic growth and enhance quality of life,” said Drew Dilkens, Mayor of Windsor, Canada. “With its history of cross-border trade and collaboration, the Detroit-Ann Arbor-Windsor region is uniquely positioned to lead the world in developing the next-generation mobility system.”

Throughout 2018, the geographies will collaborate to address significant mobility challenges such as the lack of connectivity between transport modes, increased congestion and evolving mobility needs of underserved populations. Some residents are without reliable transport to jobs or are unable to take advantage of new mobility options due to a lack of access to reliable internet. As the cities of Detroit, Ann Arbor and Windsor build regional cohesion to tackle their mobility opportunities, the World Economic Forum will provide support through several design workshops that will connect the cities to the SIMSystem Working Group. The SIMSystem Working Group comprises senior executives from diverse industries (such as automotive, supply chain, mobility-on-demand and technology), academics and government officials.

Insights from this pilot will be documented throughout the year and shared publicly so all cities can learn from the experiences of Detroit, Ann Arbor and Windsor and apply practices to their own municipality.

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Urban Development

As cities fill tech gaps, power of smart cities unleashes

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Governing Smart Cities, a report released today by the World Economic Forum, provides a benchmark for the ethical and responsible use of smart city technologies by looking into the inner workings of 36 Pioneer Cities. The authors of the report seek to help city leaders identify gaps, protect long-term interests and keep up with the pace of technology.

According to the report, cities of all sizes, geographies and levels of development have serious governance gaps, such as the failure to designate a person accountable for cybersecurity or to assess privacy risks when procuring new technology systems. However, leaders can close these gaps and protect long-term interests by acting now.

Written in partnership with Deloitte, the report follows the call to action from G20 ministers in 2019 that resulted in the creation of the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance. The Alliance and its partners represent over 200,000 cities, local governments, leading companies, start-ups, research institutions and civil society communities. It acts as a platform to help cities strengthen their knowledge, expertise and governance of smart city technologies. The Forum is its secretariat.

The 36 Pioneer Cities surveyed span six continents and 22 countries, and have populations ranging from 70,000 to over 15 million. Policy experts and government officials were interviewed from January to March 2021 to assess the implementation of a set of five essential policies identified by the G20 Alliance last year.

Key findings

Nearly all the cities surveyed – including those that are generally regarded as leading global cities – have critical policy gaps related to their governance of smart city technologies

Despite an unprecedented increase in global cybersecurity attacks, most cities have not designated a specific government official as ultimately accountable for cybersecurity.

While the majority of cities recognize the importance of protecting the privacy of their citizens, only 17% of cities surveyed carry out privacy impact assessments before deploying new technologies.

Less than half of the cities surveyed have processes in place to ensure that technologies they procure are accessible to elderly residents or individuals with limited physical abilities.

Open data policy is perhaps the only area in which most cities in the sample have achieved a level of basic implementation. Even here, only 15% of the Pioneer Cities have integrated their open data portals with their wider city data infrastructure, which is a necessary step towards making a city “open by default”.

“Cities are continuing to invest heavily in new technologies to automate and improve city services and urban life. Yet our findings validate our fears that most cities are falling behind when it comes to ensuring effective oversight and governance of these technologies,” said Jeff Merritt, Head of Internet of Things and Urban Transformation, World Economic Forum. “The G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance is working with cities across the globe to address this gap, beginning with more than 15 policy workshops with city officials this summer.”

“Cities have an array of opportunities to become more resilient and sustainable. Technology is an enabler but, to fulfill its full potential, Cities need to revise their governance, operational, and financing models. Here lies the biggest challenge Cities face. Deloitte is proud to have worked with the Forum in this initiative. It is fundamental for us all to gain consciousness of the complexity of the issues and focus on how the moment we are all living can be a key opportunity”, said Miguel Eiras Antunes, Global Smart Cities Leader, Deloitte Global. “Now is the moment for a great urban transformation. Addressing urban challenges through the lenses of sustainability, inclusion, and technology is critical to develop and implement a roadmap to guide cities with their governance of smart technology and make an impact that matters.”

How to take action

The report concludes that city leaders and officials need to take action before these governance gaps become material risk and affect residents. The report’s authors also call for national policymakers, civil society and the business community to help support local governments in overcoming these challenges. Inclusion, data privacy and cybersecurity attacks are top concerns and the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance has a mandate to help cities close the governance gaps that this report has uncovered. Cities looking for assistance in identifying and addressing their policy gaps are encouraged to contact the Alliance via their website.

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Urban Development

New Report Shows Shape of Urban Growth Underpins Livability and Sustainable Growth

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A first-of-its-kind World Bank analysis, of the shape and growth of nearly 10,000 cities between 1990 and 2015, finds that the most successful urban areas are those that connect their growth to economic demand and then support this with comprehensive plans, policies and investments that help avoid uncontrolled sprawl.

The new report, Pancakes to Pyramids – City Form for Sustainable Growth, analyzes the dynamic, two-way relationship between a city’s economic growth and the floor space available to residents and businesses. It finds that a city is most likely to be its best version when its shape is driven by economic fundamentals and a conducive policy environment – namely, a robust job market, flexible building regulations, dependable public transit and access to essential services, public spaces, and cultural amenities.

Ultimately, getting livable space right, hinges on how a city manages its growth as populations and incomes increase, factoring in three dimensions of expansion – horizontal, vertical or within existing spaces (known as infill), the report finds. This will be key as cities, on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis, begin planning for a long-term, resilient, and inclusive recovery.

“Cities are at the frontier of development; they are where people go to chase their dreams of a better life for themselves and their families,” said Juergen Voegele, Vice President for Sustainable Development, World Bank. “This report helps us understand why a city grows outward, inward or up. As we support countries with their COVID-19 recovery efforts, this will also help us reflect on what makes a city livable and remind us that well-planned urban growth is good for both people and planet.”

In the average Sub-Saharan African city, 60 percent of the population lives in slums—a much larger share than the 34 percent average in cities in developing countries. The lack of floor space takes a severe toll on livability—with major consequences in times of pandemics like COVID-19. Many South Asian cities face similar issues.

Horizontal growth is inevitable for most cities. People will continue to migrate to urban areas for opportunities and a better quality of life, so it is crucial for cities to plan for this trend. As urban populations grow, one way to create more space per inhabitant is by building up instead of out. This could also help reduce crowding, discourage long commutes, draw more people to public transit and drive down greenhouse gas emissions. But building tall, or accommodating more people in a city, is dependent on economic demand and the business environment as it requires better technology, large investments, and higher returns on capital.

“Understanding the multiple drivers of city growth—a precondition for livable density in cities—can help city leaders focus on the right policy actions,” said Somik Lall, co-author of the report. “If managed well, cities that take a more pyramid-like shape can provide an impetus to accelerate sustainable development by getting people out of cars, cutting commute times, and limiting greenhouse gas emissions.”

Today, around 55 percent of the world lives in urban areas. By 2050, this number is projected to surpass two-thirds of the global population, with much of the new urbanization happening in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. While such growth signals opportunities and better livelihoods for millions of people, it also puts immense strain on cities, especially in countries that contend with low incomes and weak institutional and fiscal capabilities.

By describing how economic productivity shapes decisions by households and firms to locate in cities, and how the quantity and spatial distribution of urban floor space respond to these changes in demand, the report aims to help decision makers sort through competing legal and regulatory approaches, evaluate their investments in infrastructure, and mobilize finance for durable urban investments, particularly for essential services such as transport, water provision, solid waste management, and sewage removal and treatment.

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Urban Development

First international online forum Smart Cities Moscow

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The first international online forum Smart Cities Moscow ended in Moscow. 86 speakers from Russia, China, Switzerland, Canada, Spain, the United States, Sweden, and other countries spoke at the forum’s business program. More than 193,000 people watched the broadcasts of the panel discussions and sessions.

“A modern approach to digitalization is unthinkable without exchange of experience and conversation between cities. Moscow, being one of the world leaders of digital transformation, acted as a platform for such a conversation, and it is important for us that the international community responded with interest to this initiative. Recent years have especially shown how important it is to develop the IT infrastructure of cities and create online services focused on the daily needs of city dwellers. Synchronization and joint efforts will make megacities even more sustainable, smart and comfortable for living,” said Eduard Lysenko, Minister of the Moscow Government, Head of the Department of Information Technologies of Moscow.

The need for global communities to cooperate in creating and developing smart cities was also stressed by Juwang Zhu, director of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ Division of Public Institutions and Digital Government.

“We at the UN support universal interaction in terms of the implementation of new technologies. I am glad that the Smart Cities Moscow forum will now be an annual event. This is very important: to encourage cities to exchange practices, to develop digitalization with the whole world, so that there would be more and more smart cities,” Juwang Zhu said, adding that the greatest benefit of using new technologies was seen by countries during the fight against the pandemic.

The business program of the forum consisted of 15 sessions divided into three main directions: “Smart City Infrastructure and Technologies”, “Smart City for Life”, and “Sustainable Development of Smart City”. The experts shared their experiences of using digital solutions in transport, urban planning, tourism, ecology, energy and other sectors important for the cities. Separate sessions were devoted to piloting 5G networks, application of artificial intelligence in urban processes and big data analysis for urban development planning.

Best practices and ecosystem approach to the digitalization of cities were discussed during the plenary session of the forum. Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin spoke about the experience of introducing technologies in the capital and creating digital platforms for residents. He noted that Moscow digital projects cover absolutely all spheres of life, focusing primarily on human needs. Representatives of the relevant departments of the Moscow City Government spoke in more detail about the capital’s IT projects during the panel discussions.

Mr. Chen Jining, Mayor of Beijing, Mr. Bakytzhan Sagintayev, Mayor of Almaty, Mr. Saeed Belhoul, Director of Electronic Government Operations of Dubai Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, Mr. Mohamed Salah Eldin, Project Manager for the construction and formation of the smart city Nour (new administrative capital of Egypt) and Mayor of Fort Lauderdale Dean Trantalis also shared their experience at the plenary session.

One of the key events of the forum was the awarding of two certificates of compliance with international ISO standards for sustainable and smart cities to Moscow. “Until now, there has never been a precedent in history when both of these certificates were awarded simultaneously,” said Patricia McCarney, president of the International City Data Council (WCCD).

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