The major challenges of future cities

The challenges that cities face can be overcome in ways that allow them to continue to thrive and grow, and at the same time improve the use of resources and reduce pollution and poverty. What are these challenges?:

• Citizen-centrism gives citizens an active role and involve them in the processes. This will reduce the current distance between citizens and political representatives, creating a relationship of co-responsibility and citizen engagement in order to improve the current democracy and government system.

Again, Citizen-centrism, citizenship demands are prompting governments to adopt citizen-centric service delivery models which can significantly improve customer experience. Delivery better outcomes according to citizens’ needs, expectations and preferences based on enhancing service levels at the same or reduced cost.

Nowadays, we could consider cities as economic engines. However, from now on, they will have to be especially capable of stimulating and leading their business network and maintain a way of job creation and prosperity (empowering economies and social and environmental sustainability).

Some of the keys for that are: to make the creation and consolidation of business easier and to promote the most ingenious ideas, inventions and innovations to ensure cities remain the centres of creativity and progress (knowledge-based economy); while not straining land and resources.

It is necessary to promote the creation of new spaces for welfare and city stakeholders’ collaboration and networking with these different groups of the city.

Local Governments that want to reach their current and future strategic objectives will have to look for new ways of funding, like: external organization funds, public-private partnerships, creation of consortia and networks.

The trend for this idea is (and will be) to encourage Public-private partnership. In consequence, networking and international cooperation will influence in the new city’s strategic lines and become a main asset to reach competiveness in this new framework.

Therefore, it is necessary to establish new management models centred more on achieving goals than spending the year’s budget. This management model has to be related to different points of view: citizen, economy and sustainability.

All of these challenges force governments, companies, organisations and individuals to provide and pay for the services and amenities that citizens are demanding in order to make modern cities work and to be resilient and, most importantly, make all these agents work together. The main challenge of cities is to go further than simply being a concentration of people; it’s to create liveable cities.

Here most of you will agree that it is not a challenge related to the available technologies, it is an issue especially related to how we manage and re-organise our cities and their respective services.

Rubén Cánovas, a senior consultant of Smart Cities everismart (initiative that encompasses the everis Smart solutions from a global and multi-sectoral perspective). You can contact him via Twitter or Linkedin.

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