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Smart Cities and the United Nations New Urban Agenda

13/09/2017

María Galindo García-Delgado. Innovation and Smart City Business Manager at DOXA Innova & Smart.

The New Urban Agenda is a roadmap for urban development in the coming 20 years, which highlights and accentuates the role of cities in the promotion of a sustainable and socially equitable development of the planet.

Far from advocating for an equitable of economic growth and generated wealth, during the last few decades inequalities have grown in cities, and the pressure over natural resources is exacerbating.

Today, over half of global population lives in cities. And also today, half of global population does not have access to the Internet.

Globally, cities represent over half of the world economy and two thirds of the global energy consumption. Every week, 1.5 million people move from rural to urban environments. Cities are the power horse of economic progress and citizen welfare, and in thirty years’ time cities will accommodate 75% of global population.

This urbanization process poses great challenges to urban management: both related to access to basic services, dwellings, urban planning, mobility, etc. but also to the sustainability of said transformation and its effects upon climate and environment.

In fact, the United Nations (UN) Conference Habitat III, recognized the need of a planned and sustainable urbanization process of cities, and so the New Urban Agenda was launched in Quito in October 2016: a roadmap for the urban development in the coming 20 years, which highlights and accentuates the role of cities in the promotion of a sustainable and socially equitable development of the planet.

As a matter of fact, persisting poverty, growing inequalities and environmental degradation are the most defiant obstacles to a sustainable development. Far from advocating for an equitable distribution of economic growth and wealth, during the last few decades inequalities have grown in cities, and the pressure over natural resources is exacerbating. Today, over half of global population lives in cities. And also today, half of global population does not have access to the Internet.

In line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the United Nations, the New Urban Agenda highlights how information, technology and Internet play a significant role in the consecution of said objectives and in turn in urban development, promoting a more efficient urbanization process, while making it possible to scale and implement projects and urban solutions in less developed and favored environments.

The accelerating paper of technology in these transformations, and as a catalyzer of efficient solutions to global challenges is undoubtable. Internet has changed the way we learn, communicate and work. Internet has extended and socialized knowledge, and has universalized access to information. In cities, technology enables advancing towards Smart Cities providing intelligence in urban management and urban policies; promoting more efficient cities that maximize and make a more efficient use of resources, which improve the citizen’s quality of life and that promote the continuous generation of local welfare in a sustainable manner.

Smart Cities and the United Nations New Urban Agenda
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