Cities in a Time of Global Emergencies

Cities in a time of global emergencies 5

ways of better using available space in city centers, e.g. through shared workspaces or mixed use of existing facilities. 3 Culture, history and values remain assets in designing and developing smart cities. Finally, shared lessons emerge around the critical importance of local leadership as a source of longer term vision for cities. Looking 10 or 20 years into the future requires an ability to anticipate the kind of solutions that technology will be able to offer; but a human-centric smart city must do so in full respect of its own culture, history and values. The examples of Madinah (and how the city mobilized its technology resources to better manage pilgrim crowds during Ramadan and the Hajj), but also those of Tokyo and Santiago (able to mitigate the consequences of frequent seismic activity) or Kigali (to rebuild an inclusive society after a cruel civil war, and offering a model for the African continent) all tell us very different stories of how smart cities can be built and improved. They also tell us how imagination, good governance and careful monitoring can help improve the impact of smart cities on the lives of their citizens, and contribute to a better, safer and more resilient world. Next steps By combining the results of the 2021 edition of the IMD-SUTD Smart City Index on one hand, and the lessons described above, stemming from the 10 case studies included in this volume, we can identify five key axes along which a “lovable and liveable smart city” can be defined. Each offers a fertile avenue for further research, and continuing monitoring. They can be summarized as follows. 1. Consolidating the economic, social, health and environmental sustainability of smart cities. In all parts of the world, the pandemic has heightened citizens’ concerns on all of these dimensions of sustainability. Yet, economic concerns (especially about affordable housing) remain the aspect on which all of the cities covered by the index and this book’s case studies agree. What is the proper economic and business model for a smart city? Further assessments of the experience acquired with regard to PPPs, online and transparent procurement processes, as well as with special economic zones and innovation districts would certainly help provide some answers. Smart cities will also have key roles to play in shaping the post-COVID-19 recovery process. As sizeable economic packages start to be finalized and adopted around the world, their translation at the local level (through infrastructure spending and support to environmentally sound urban initiatives and to the overall acceleration of digital transformation) will largely contribute to determine the shape and pace of the recovery process. 2. Exploring innovative ways to measure and monitor the performance and impact of smart cities. The IMD-SUTDSmart City Index focuses on perceptions. Its companion books of case studies bring additional (contextual) evidence about

3 On the topic of the possible evolution of city centers, see Glaeser and Cutler (2021).

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