Cities Present Models for Using Data for Social Impact

08 Nov 2023

World Economic Forum,

  • The G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance’s model policies and regional networks are helping to accelerate the responsible adoption of smart city technologies to transform cities.
  • In Mexico City, making data sets publicly available has helped NGOs, residents and companies to reduce high-impact crime.
  • Istanbul is using the Alliance’s “inclusive procurement launchpad” project to ensure that all inhabitants have access to the digital tools that enable participation in society.
  • Tsukuba in Japan is using personal privacy impact assessments for all new technologies to increase public confidence when citizens use technology to access services, such as healthcare and online voting.
  • Download the white paper and new model policies.

New York, NY, 8 November 2023 – The World Economic Forum released today a white paper and two new model policies that highlight how cities can implement new technologies and share data safely to improve city services and increase quality of life for urban residents and visitors.

Written in partnership with Deloitte, Governing Smart Cities: Use Cases for Urban Transformation profiles pilot governance and policy programmes for responsible and ethical technology adoption in Mexico City (Mexico), Tsukuba (Japan) and Istanbul (Turkey).

Since 2019, G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance has convened public and private sector leaders to help cities manage new technologies as they emerge at a rapid pace. The Alliance develops model policies and support implementation of these policies through digital tools and regional networks of cities in Latin America and Asia.

“Model policies are an important first step to help cities understand global best practice and establish roadmaps for effective technology governance,” said Jeff Merritt, Head of Urban Transformation at the World Economic Forum. “However, to deliver on these plans and adapt to local contexts, access to expertise and peer networks is essential.”

In Mexico, the Alliance’s regional network helped enhance Mexico City’s open data policy, which enabled non-government organizations, entrepreneurs and citizens to develop innovations based on city data sets, notably to reduce crime. Better data availability, as part of the city’s comprehensive plan to improve safety, has enabled the city to realize a 60% drop in high impact crimes; more than 42% of residents now consider their city a safe place to live, up from 7% in 2018.

In Turkey, a public-private collaboration with Microsoft and G3ICT has enabled the municipal government of Istanbul to implement a model policy on accessible technology, which is expected to increase the delivery of universally designed services from 800,000 people in 2019 to 2.5 million in 2024.

In Japan, the Alliance has worked with the authorities in Tsukuba to help the city adapt personal privacy impact assessment policy to the municipal context to mitigate potential privacy harms or disparate impacts before they occur.

“The work we do through the regional networks is where the action happens,” said Fumikazu Kitagawa, a Partner at Deloitte Japan. “We help turn international best practice into locally specific policies that make smart cities more data-driven, people-centric and future-ready.”

Two new model policies

The Alliance has also developed two new model policies which were unveiled today at Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona.

The model policy on Whole Life Carbon Assessment, developed in partnership with Infosys and C40 Cities, helps cities draft legislation requiring whole life cycle assessments for major developments in the built environment. A whole life cycle assessment not only helps identify the significant causes of carbon impacts, but also supports long-term life cycle thinking beyond project completion.

“Infosys has, since inception, committed to embracing and helping its clients find ways to create smart spaces for enterprises and cities to become more efficient, enhance people experiences, and reduce resource consumption while adopting renewable energy sources,” said Ashiss Kumar Dash, EVP and Segment Head - Services, Utilities, Resources, Energy at Infosys. “We are pleased that our efforts over the years are now guiding the framing of the Whole Life Carbon Assessment Mandates deemed a model policy by the World Economic Forum’s G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance.”

“We rely on our built environment daily. It’s our homes, schools, offices, trains, or cycle lanes and much more,” said Cécile Faraud, Head of Clean Construction, C40 Cities. “Yet it’s also an invisible contributor to the climate crisis. Cities have a critical role to play to support the decarbonization of this global sector. The policy model is an important step in the array of solutions cities can implement to signal the direction of change to the sector.”

The model policy on Public Sector Asset Use, developed in partnership with Gravelroad Group, aims to provide guidance on how to host communications infrastructure on city property by providing insights on shaping collaborations with connectivity providers to advance broader smart city objectives, and guidance on the processes for landlords and communications operators to follow when considering siting digital communications infrastructure on city property.

"Digital connectivity is critical to Dublin’s economic competitiveness, innovation potential and quality of life,” said Richard Shakespeare, Chief Executive of Dublin City Council. “We are delighted that our ‘Telecoms Unit’ policy intervention has been highlighted as a best practice case study by the World Economic Forum’s G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance.”

About the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance

The G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance accelerates the responsible adoption of technology to advance urban transformation goals. Established in June 2019, the Alliance unites municipal, regional and national governments, private sector partners and cities’ residents around a shared set of principles for the responsible and ethical use of smart city technologies. The World Economic Forum, the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation, serves as secretariat for the alliance.

Notes to editors

Learn more about the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance

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All opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Economic Forum Blog is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around the key topics that shape global, regional and industry agendas.

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