June 22, 2022 | Mass Violence and Atrocities
Peace in Our Cities Webinar: Smart Cities—Opportunity or Risk for Peace in our Cities?
Cities are already half of the world’s population and are expected to grow. 1.3 million people move into cities every week, and by 2040, 56 percent of the world’s population will be living in cities. At the same time the risk of urban violence is ever-present, threatening the prosperity of cities and its residents, particularly those most vulnerable. The Peace in Our Cities Network seeks to galvanize a movement of people, mayors, and city governments to halve urban violence by 2030 by advancing the human-rights based approaches to violence prevention and reduction.
At the same time another trend is spreading across the world. Development of emerging technologies, big data, and advanced analytics are changing many spheres of our lives. Many of these approaches are being deployed under the umbrella of “Smart City” projects. Analysts predict overall smart city investment will reach USD $203 billion globally by 2024. Could the ‘smart’ approaches to urban development aid in reducing violence and building community safety in increasingly complex urban ecosystems? Or, will they be an impediment to realizing the ambition of Peace in Our Cities of peaceful, just, and inclusive cities.
A recent study suggests that smart city technologies could help cities reduce crime by 30 to 40 percent and enable 20 to 35 percent faster response times for emergency services. However, technology does not solve problems caused by poverty, inequity, or societal disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. But can the technology be an additional tool within a human approach? Technology can potentially help police services connect to citizens, build trust, and strengthen relationships with communities, but it can also create bigger divide, massive surveillance, discrimination, and more stratified and biased society.
This webinar will connect experts and city officials who will share their perspectives on how to navigate the space of smart cities in between opportunities and challenges, and help us understand if smart cities are an ally or an enemy of the peace in our cities.
Associate Program OfficerMass Violence and Atrocities
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