Cities in a Time of Global Emergencies

Cities in a time of global emergencies 1


Arturo Bris, Christos Cabolis, Bruno Lanvin

This is the second volume of smart city case studies produced by IMD and SUTD, after Sixteen Shades of Smart , published in 2019. It includes 10 case studies, of which half – produced by SUTD – are on cities in the Asia-Pacific region (Manila, Melbourne, Mumbai, Shanghai, Tokyo). The other five (Kigali, Madinah, Santiago, Tel-Aviv, Vienna) were produced by IMD. This time, again, we tried to provide a wide range of experiences from around the world, and to gather contextual information from cities representing various stages of achievement and sophistication along the route of smart cities development. In doing so, we had to take account of the exceptional developments that have occurred over the last two years, as the COVID-19 virus spread and mutated around the world. Simultaneously, the same cities were also facing increasing pressure from their citizens to address environmental concerns; as the effects of climate change were becoming more apparent globally. At the same time other concerns (identified in both Sixteen Shades of Smart and the first three editions of the IMD-SUTD Smart City Index) had not diminished in intensity or urgency, including the cost of affordable housing, traffic congestion, waste management, access to basic services, and safety, to name but a few. The combination of health and climate emergencies attracted the energy and attention of many city leaders around the world. This is why this second volume focuses on “Cities in a time of global emergencies”, and attempts to identify the lessons we can draw from the exceptional experience of the last two years. Definitions and approach The definition of the smart city we employ is the one used in all our research: an urban setting that applies technology to enhance the benefits and diminish the shortcomings of urbanization for its citizens. We followRazaghi and Finger (2018) and identify cities as socio-technical systems. In such a framework technology can improve the quality as well as the number of goods and services available. Thus, we effectively broaden out from a limited definition where a “city” is identified as smart by examining only one dimension, be this “sustainable”, “environmentally friendly” or “intelligent”. While the IMD-SUTD approach remains to identify, analyze and promote ways in which smart cities can be more human-centric (as opposed to technology driven), the key priority areas on which we tried to build these case studies largely remain the ones

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