Cities look to a greener, digitalised future but key obstacles remain
68% of the world’s population is projected to live in urban areas by 2050, according to the UN, a significant increase from the 56% who did in 2020, but the rates and success with which cities are incorporating digital technologies into their fabrics vary substantially.
Many EU city-level policymakers favour transitioning to “smart cities” as their jurisdictions move forward, increasing the digitalised nature of urban life while welcoming benefits such as increased sustainability, better mobility and expanded data sharing.
A report looking at accelerating smart city adoption across 10 European countries, released by Vodafone earlier this month, found that 88% of cities have started their digital transformation and that 69% were planning to invest in tech solutions in the next three years. However, the report also identified various challenges facing cities seeking to digitise.
Read more here.
On the social front, ageing populations, urban segregation and accessibility issues were all identified as potential negatives. When it comes to the economic impact of smart cities, a lack of affordable housing and a potential increase in vectors for cyberattacks were among the biggest complications noted.
Finally, in terms of the environmental repercussions of urban digitalisation, high rates of consumption in urban areas, along with the need for more effective waste management systems were outlined as the main issues.