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Giving Compass' Take:
• Homi Kharas and Jaana Remes describe how to build equitable smart cities that help all citizens - especially the elderly, disabled, and poor - live better lives.
• How can philanthropy help cities improve equitably? What existing programs can be tweaked to improve inclusivity?
• Learn about smart cities and artificial intelligence.
Around the world, governments are making cities “smarter” by using data and digital technology to build more efficient and livable urban environments. This makes sense: with urban populations growing and infrastructure under strain, smart cities will be better positioned to manage rapid change.
But as digital systems become more pervasive, there is a danger that inequality will deepen unless local governments recognize that tech-driven solutions are as important to the poor as they are to the affluent.
While offline populations can benefit from applications running in the background of daily life – such as intelligent signals that help with traffic flows – they will not have access to the full range of smart-city programs. With smartphones serving as the primary interface in the modern city, closing the digital divide, and extending access to networks and devices, is a critical first step.
City planners can also deploy technology in ways that make cities more inclusive for the poor, the disabled, the elderly, and other vulnerable people. Examples are already abundant.
In New York City, the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit uses interagency data platforms to coordinate door-to-door outreachto residents in need of assistance. In California’s Santa Clara County, predictive analytics help prioritize shelter space for the homeless. On the London Underground, an app called Wayfindr uses Bluetooth to help visually impaired travelers navigate the Tube’s twisting pathways and escalators.
Read the full article about equitable smart cities by Homi Kharas and Jaana Remes at Project Syndicate.