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.”
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