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Dubai and San Francisco Share ‘Smart’ Lessons

Dubai and San Francisco are working together to share ideas about policies  and practices of “smart cities” to promote innovation and overcome challenges.

The two metropolises started the collaboration earlier this year, according  to experts and officials at the Smart Living City conference in Dubai on  Monday.

Plans to turn Dubai into a smart city – one characterised by investments in  technology and human capital, plus a high quality of life – were  announced last October by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and  Ruler of Dubai. Among the plans are a parking  app and public Wifi.

Achieving the smart city goal would promote sustainable growth, better city  management and other improvements, but requires the Government, businesses and  the public to work together, said Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, Minister of  Economy.

“To achieve this synergy, we need to work together to redefine our city in a  system that promotes sustainability and a better quality of life,” Mr Al  Mansoori said.

Students and entrepreneurs could be invited to work with governments to  create new services such as smartphone apps, that are characteristic of smart  cities, said experts from San Francisco.

While a top-down approach to policy making can hasten change, many  innovations must be market-driven, coming from the citizens, said Mark Chandler,  director of the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of International Trade and  Commerce.

Examples are transport companies Lyft and Uber – which allow people to use  their own cars as taxis – and website Airbnb, through which people rent out  their homes like hotel rooms.

“No government would have ever come up with Uber or Airbnb,” said Mr  Chandler. “The market has demanded this. It’s incredibly popular.”

Read more: The National Dubai and San Francisco sharesmartlessons

Dubai and SF Share 'Smart' Lessons