- This monthly round-up brings you some of the latest news on cities and urbanization.
- Top city and urbanization stories: Mendoza harnesses Urban Mobility Scorecard; Mexico City, Istanbul and Tsukuba present models for using data for social impact; China home prices drop for fourth month.
- For more on the World Economic Forum’s city-focused work, visit the Centre for Urban Transformation.
1. Mendoza uses benchmarking to drive forward sustainable mobility
The Argentinian city of Mendoza is the latest to use the Global New Mobility Coalition’s (GNMC) Urban Mobility Scorecard tool to benchmark and improve its sustainable mobility plans.
The Scorecard offers a way for cities to identify gaps in mobility initiatives and evaluate progress across key areas such as safety, emissions reductions and innovation. Participation enables the city to track measurable objectives over time based on global best practices.
How is the World Economic Forum supporting the development of cities and communities globally?
The Data for the City of Tomorrow report highlighted that in 2023, around 56% of the world is urbanized. Almost 65% of people use the internet. Soon, 75% of the world’s jobs will require digital skills.
The World Economic Forum’s Centre for Urban Transformation is at the forefront of advancing public-private collaboration in cities. It enables more resilient and future-ready communities and local economies through green initiatives and the ethical use of data.
Learn more about our impact:
- Net Zero Carbon Cities: Through this initiative, we are sharing more than 200 leading practices to promote sustainability and reducing emissions in urban settings and empower cities to take bold action towards achieving carbon neutrality.
- G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance: We are dedicated to establishing norms and policy standards for the safe and ethical use of data in smart cities, leading smart city governance initiatives in more than 36 cities around the world.
- Empowering Brazilian SMEs with IoT adoption: We are removing barriers to IoT adoption for small and medium-sized enterprises in Brazil – with participating companies seeing a 192% return on investment.
- IoT security: Our Council on the Connected World established IoT security requirements for consumer-facing devices. It engages over 100 organizations to safeguard consumers against cyber threats.
- Healthy Cities and Communities: Through partnerships in Jersey City and Austin, USA, as well as Mumbai, India, this initiative focuses on enhancing citizens' lives by promoting better nutritional choices, physical activity, and sanitation practices.
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Mendoza – which has aspirations to become a sustainable mobility leader in South America – has already developed a Sustainable Mobility Plan and Climate Action Plan outlining strategies for dense public transit, walking and cycling networks to cut carbon emissions. It also has plans in place to construct mobility hubs to connect different types of transport, and to expand electric vehicle use and infrastructure.
“We are pleased to have used the GNMC’s Urban Mobility Scorecard tool to benchmark Mendoza’s progress towards sustainable mobility,” says Sebastián Fermani, Undersecretary of Environment and Sustainable Development for the City of Mendoza. “We are setting ambitious goals to make transport more sustainable and inclusive. By taking action on sustainable mobility, we aim to make Mendoza a more liveable, successful, resilient city.”
2. Mexico City, Istanbul and Tsukuba show how data can improve municipal services
Three pilot governance and policy programmes outlining the responsible and ethical adoption of technology for city transformation are the focus of a white paper from the World Economic Forum.
The Governing Smart Cities: Use Cases for Urban Transformation report – produced in association with the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance and Deloitte – spotlights how cities can use new technologies and data sets to improve municipal services and enhance quality of life. The report profiles key use cases in Mexico City, the Japanese city of Tsukuba and Istanbul in Türkiye.
Mexico City’s open data policy has been enhanced by the Alliance’s regional network, making it possible for NGOs and private-sector entrepreneurs to innovate with data sets to reduce crime. The initiative has led to a 60% drop in high-impact crimes across the Mexican capital.
In Istanbul, a public-private collaboration involving Microsoft and G3ICT (the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs) has enabled the rollout of accessible technology that is expected to triple the provision of social services.
And in Tsukuba, the authorities have worked with the Alliance to adopt a personal privacy impact assessment policy for new technologies that is intended to increase public confidence when using services such as online voting.
“Model policies are an important first step to help cities understand global best practice and establish roadmaps for effective technology governance,” says Jeff Merritt, the World Economic Forum's Head of Urban Transformation. “However, to deliver on these plans and adapt to local contexts, access to expertise and peer networks is essential.”
3. News in brief: Other top city and urbanization stories this month
New home prices in China dropped for a fourth month in a row in October. The 0.3% month-on-month decline adds to concerns about a weakening across the Chinese housing market. The authorities are already trying to counter this through measures such as cuts to borrowing costs.
A series of projects to reduce energy waste will receive €125 million ($140 million) of backing from the European Union’s investment arm. The power projects will be set up at sites such as hospitals and data centres to help improve energy efficiency. Large amounts of energy can be lost when electricity has to travel large distances along power lines.
Extreme pollution is clouding New Delhi following a series of farm fires near the city. Intense smog created by more than 2,500 fires has made the Indian capital the world’s most polluted city, with its air quality categorized as “hazardous”.
A development 33 times the size of New York City has been unveiled as the latest addition to NEOM, a $500 billion smart city being built in the Saudi Arabian desert. The Epicon region will form a luxury resort on the Gulf of Aqaba and will feature a pair of jagged skyscrapers over 200 metres high.
The City of Stirling, part of Perth, Australia, has started trials of a Trackless Tram, allowing locals to ride the net-zero emissions vehicle ahead of its Net Zero Symposium in November.
4. More on urban transformation on Agenda
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Cities are home to a growing majority of the world’s population and account for more than 80% of the global GDP. Here’s how a series of start-ups are working to make the world's cities more sustainable.