The global pandemic’s remarkable and unanticipated impact has dramatically accelerated the pace of changes that now hold unmistakable implications for the decline of the traditional ‘centralized-city’ model. The pandemic has served to highlight, amid crisis-related responses worldwide, systemic barriers to urban transformation that today’s leaders must overcome if they hope to deliver on visions for a promising new future of sustainable city living.
The future inevitably demands bold thinking to create smart cities featuring technologies, infrastructure and ecosystems that will seamlessly deliver exciting new ways of living, working and playing as local communities and urban life evolve. The long-held ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to planning and policies will no longer work to create cities that are healthy, sustainable, efficient and prosperous for all.
We need to reshape tomorrow’s urban centers to adapt to humans – not the other way around. The future is about putting people at the center of urban transformation via convenient universal access to all of the local services needed to live, learn and thrive.
Intentional adoption of experience-centric digital solutions will be indispensable and city leaders will need to make strategic, informed, outcome-based use of digital technology to successfully evolve cities and services for a new era. As Forrester’s Customer Experience Index research shows, city governments continue to trail the business sector in the crucial area of customer centricity, providing poorer customer experiences than any private-sector industry.
Cities everywhere are poised to shape an exciting future using modern technology and data-driven approaches to create robust, agile, highly efficient organizations that put people at the center of tomorrow’s urban settings. Much is possible, but there will be a need to shift mindsets and embrace new and sometimes frightening approaches to deliver the types of services citizens and stakeholders deserve.