New report calls for ‘agile’ cities

Cities will have to become ‘agile’ to capture the opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum.

The world is rapidly urbanizing and new technologies are transforming life at an unprecedented rate. If cities are to harness the new opportunities and address the new challenges created by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, they will have to embrace “agility”, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum.

Agile Cities: Preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution explains the concept of agility – being able to move quickly and easily – and introduces guidelines for measuring agility in eight key areas of city life: buildings, land, energy, mobility, IT, security, education and governance.

In an agile city, for example, city planners could rezone land for temporary uses as the need arises and buildings would serve a different mix of functions. Transport systems would be optimized by real-time information while the education system would be designed to adapt quickly to reflect the economy’s changing needs.

Many cities have already taken great strides towards agility in ways that others could emulate, said Alice Charles from the World Economic Forum. In Moscow, for example, the city government uses an app to seek residents’ feedback on urban development issues before making decisions, with over 1.5 million Muscovites are already registered. Residents in Quito, Ecuador can use an app for integrated mobility to plan and pay for a single journey that uses different modes of transport such as metro, bus, private taxi and even bike hire. The report also singles out a new district in Singapore with its flexible zoning policy that allows academia and business to share collaborative spaces.


Image credit: Trey Ratcliff via Flickr

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