Paris, October 31- Connected, intelligent, innovative, creative, inclusive, resilient, and decidedly sustainable, the cities of tomorrow are vying for innovation to address the challenge of sustainable development. What will they really look like? Which cities for future generations?
On the occasion of World Cities Day 2019, around the theme of innovation, these questions were at the heart of the debates organized by UNESCO in Paris on 31 October, which ended with the pre-announcement of the list of the 10 cities that won the Netexplo Smart Cities 2020 Prize. These prizes will be awarded at the Netexplo Smart Cities Accelerator forum, co-organized by UNESCO, from 18 to 19 March 2020.
As part of the 2019 World Day of Cities, UNESCO gave a platform to local elected officials and other actors and decision-makers in local communities from 24 cities around the world to share their experiences, give examples of success and consider perspectives. These “urban dialogues” portray cities that rely on innovation and collective intelligence to imagine the future.
The partnership between UNESCO and the Netexplo Observatory honours places around the world that have distinguished themselves through innovation in the field of the intelligent, sustainable and inclusive city.
The 10 Netexplo Smart Cities 2020 winners are:
· Austin, United States of America (Mobility),
· Dakar, Senegal (Education),
· Espoo, Finland (Datasphere),
· Medellín, Colombia (Attractiveness),
· Shenzhen, China ( Transportation),
· Santiago-du-Chile (Financing),
· Singapore (Zero Carbon Goal),
· Surat, India (Resilience),
· Tallinn, Estonia (Digital Transformation) and
· Vienna, Austria ( Housing).
Among the winning projects is the Virtual University of Senegal in Dakar, the country’s first public virtual university, which uses Information and Communication Technologies to address inequalities in accessing higher education.
In Colombia, Medellín dedicates one of its districts to the development of innovation in energy and public health. The Indian city of Surat is developing a mobile water quality control and wastewater recycling system.
UNESCO’s approach to urban development links issues of access and inclusion, global citizenship education, advocacy, economy and employment, innovation and creativity, climate change prevention and resilience. In just five years, cities have become UNESCO’s leading partners in bringing international ambitions closer to local realities in support of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.
Culture for innovation will also be at the heart of the tenth World Urban Forum, to be held from 8 to 13 February 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.