As 2019 drew to a close, the travel and tourism industry had reasons to celebrate. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), IBTM Events, and the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) all announced the good news. But then the Covid-19 pandemic dealt a serious blow to the tourism sector.
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Jamie Cudden is the leader of Dublin City Council’s Smart City program. The Smart City program focuses on embracing new technologies to solve the many challenges that the city faces to make Dublin a more liveable city for all of its residents. Using pioneering ideas, involving 5G, Internet of Things, and Big Data, Dublin’s Smart City program has been able to develop and deploy a wide range of solutions for challenges such as citizen engagement, sustainable mobility, energy management, and more.
Since Dublin is a prime example of a smart city in action (read our Smart Dublin City Portrait for more information), we decided to get in touch with Jamie and find out how he helped to steer Dublin into a smarter future.
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During the coronavirus outbreak in Amsterdam, city leaders took steps to help citizens at risk of isolation due to lockdown measures. As part of the city's "Everyone Connected" project, an ecosystem comprised of local technologists and civil society groups cooperated to deliver refurbished laptops with Internet connectivity to low-income, elderly and other citizens with below-average digital access. This is an example of a local ecosystem responding to an urgent situation that threatened to exacerbate digital and social exclusion. Smart city ecosystems are vital in implementing sustainable solutions and responding to a crisis.
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Climate change is a very clear and present danger. Though the term usually conjures up images of melting ice sheets and dying forests, our cities are also particularly vulnerable to it too.
Currently, 50% of the world’s population lives in cities. That percentage is expected to rise to 70% by 2050. Cities are already struggling to mitigate the problems caused by increased population density, and these problems are expected to intensify as other variables such as climate change and extreme weather take hold. To prepare for the future, cities must improve their climate change resilience in order to improve the quality of life of its citizens.
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On the 8th of September 2020, Horst Seehofer, Federal Minister of the Interior, Building and Community, announced the decision that 32 Smart City Model Projects will be funded with around 350 million Euros in the second round of the national funding programme "Smart City Model Projects". In the first round of last year, 13 Smart Cities were selected and funded with the aim of accelerating urban digital transformation in Germany.
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Urban public health is currently in the spotlight as city populations struggle to deal with the threat of COVID-19. As lockdown measures take their toll on urban communities, city dwellers have been forced to see their cities through new eyes, and the results have been worrying.
A study from the UN has found that 68% of the global population will be living in cities and metropolitan areas by 2050. However, many researchers believe that the stats will likely be far higher, and further estimates suggest that up to 90% of the planet’s population could be living in megacities within the next 30 years.
The current coronavirus pandemic has proven that cities will need to adapt if they want to nurture healthier, happier, and safer populations. Urban public health will need to evolve to cater for denser populations, and the potential hazards that go along with it.
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The term “smart city” has a different meaning for different people. For most, it conjures up a vision of a technologically-advanced metropolis, where citizens rely on smart gadgets to go about their daily lives. For others, the smart city concept describes government initiatives based on big data, technology and intelligent processes that improve the quality of life of a city’s residents. These aren’t incorrect definitions, they’re just two sides of a multi-faceted approach to urban development.
Technology and data are essential building blocks for creating a smart city. But it’s the city’s residents that can help enact the biggest changes. By introducing projects that focus on improving the lives of individuals and communities, smart cities can begin to grow on their own.
One of the most talked-about methods of transforming a city into a smarter city is by introducing 15-minute neighborhoods. More commonly known as a 15-minute city, or even a 20-minute city, these strategies focus on improving the lives of residents by making the city more accessible to everyone.
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Our current economic model - known as a linear economy - is not sustainable. This is the warning we hear from scientists, economists and other thought leaders who describe the linear model as a wasteful take-make-consume-dispose system, one that damages natural resources and the environment, generates excessive volumes of waste and dumps valuable materials into landfills. By comparison, the grand vision of a circular economy depicts a more resilient and sustainable model which yields responsible use and reuse of resources and raw materials, protection of the environment, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and innovation in waste management.
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Rob van Gijzel, the former Mayor of Eindhoven and current Chairman of the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) Foundation in New York and National Ambassador for the Blockchain Cities Coalition speaks about the importance of smart cities and smart citizens.
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The importance of smart cities & smart citizens: In our interview series, smart city leaders comment on the future of smart cities, the role of technology, and the benefits for citizens. In our second interview of the series, we have asked urban strategist and smart city expert Boyd Cohen to share his expertise, thoughts and insights with us on a number of important smart city topics.