The FINANCIAL — As urban leaders from around the world gather for Smart City Expo World Congress this week in Barcelona, Mastercard launched a unique global network for urban co-development. As part of its City Possible program, Mastercard is connecting cities with academia and businesses to identify common challenges that can be best addressed through collaboration.
Sixteen cities are becoming founding members of the global City Possible network – representing a diverse mix of geography and size: Athens, Aurora, IL, Baltimore, Dubai, Dublin, Helsinki, Honolulu, Kansas City, Melbourne, Prague, San Diego, and Altamonte Springs, FL, as well as the Greater Sydney communities of Campbelltown, Canterbury Bankstown, Liverpool, and Wollondilly. The network is open for additional cities to join.
As a key component of City Possible, Mastercard is partnering with the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard University (TECH) which will host a series of programs to foster a regular learning exchange among global city leaders. The first convening will take place this week at Smart City Expo in Barcelona and focus on urban planning, mobility services and data insights. Participants will also have access to an online community where they can continue the dialogue with their peers.
When the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the United Nations in 2015, they called for “making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. In order to accelerate local level delivery of the SDGs, the United Nations Global Compact Cities Programme will work with City Possible. Through the collaboration with Mastercard, participating cities can access the City Possible network to identify shared challenges and seek sustainable business models to address them.
Once key challenges that are shared by cities across the globe have been identified, City Possible will provide a framework for co-creating, testing and scaling solutions – connecting cities with private sector players that are equally committed to people-centered design. By closely collaborating with companies such as Microsoft, HERE Technologies and now also IDEMIA, Mastercard works to address urban challenges in a more holistic way.
One of the areas that exemplifies the advantages of city-to-city collaboration is public transit. After Mastercard had helped Transport for London (TfL) to transform its ticketing system by introducing contactless technology in 2014, cities around the world including Sydney, Singapore, Vancouver, Boston and New York have adopted or embraced solutions that are using the same global standard. Other areas where cities and people could benefit from greater efficiency and better, more inclusive experiences include the disbursement of social benefits and a unified access to municipal services.