Webinar

Urban Future with a Purpose Webinar

Building Resilient & Sustainable Cities

 CEST

Urban Future with a Purpose is a series of four global high-level policy discussions in which senior stakeholders share their vision on how to improve the quality of life in cities and organizations around the globe.


On 21 September, the fourth webinar in the “Urban Future with a Purpose” series was held, focusing on building resilient and sustainable cities. The webinar also featured the new Deloitte Global report “Urban Future with a Purpose: 12 trends shaping the future of cities by 2030,” which provides real-world examples of the strategic and analytical approaches required to build a stronger urban future.

Key takeaways:

The pandemic has disrupted the very core of urban living, but cities remain uniquely positioned to respond to crises and set the rules for recovery. A key challenge now is to understand how to design more resilient cities that can prepare, absorb, and recover from future shocks. 

In his keynote address, Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission, underlined the importance of cities during times of crises as the administrative level closest to citizens. Serving as innovation hubs that thrive on the knowledge and skills of urban talent, “Cities should join their common efforts,” said Schinas, to build climate-friendly, resilient, and sustainable urban areas.

Miguel Eiras Antunes, Global Smart City, Smart Nation & Local Government Leader at Deloitte, echoed this sentiment as part of the Urban Future with a Purpose report launch. “We need to move from urban living to human living,” he said. And while, he noted, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions, the 12 trends in the report are interconnected and are best tackled via such collaborative efforts as public-private partnerships and dialogue among cities.

Similarly, the international organizations panel recognized the need for peer-learning among cities. Kishore Rao, Global Sector Leader for International Donor Organizations at Deloitte, said that “Cities are ecosystems with multiple stakeholders in need of collective action for change.” 

Panelists also emphasized the importance of attracting talent to cities. “The city of the future will have to emerge livable, and it will have to emerge inclusive,” said Sameh Wahba, the World Bank’s Global Director for Urban Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land Global Practice, noting that these features encourage resilience as well as ensure the attractiveness of urban areas.

Cities must not only build back better, “but they also need to be at the forefront of prevention,” said panelist Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction at the United Nations. She called for more investments in resilience and for a more holistic approach at risk prevention.

Panelist Maimunah Mohd Sharif, UN Habitat’s Executive Director, noted the importance of thinking locally and acting globally to improve urban futures—that is, learning from local initiatives and then applying lessons both globally and locally. She also asserted that people, institutions, and systems need to harness data and its potential to create more inclusive, green, and resilient cities.

The pandemic accelerating the work of mayors while shedding light on underlying problems was a key theme during the panel on cities. The mayors of Sierra Leone, Cascais, and Leuven agreed that cities need to learn to act as quickly as they did during the pandemic but with a long-term perspective. “I expect more impact and faster impact than before,” said Miguel Pinto Luz, Vice-Mayor of Cascais, Portugal.

Other panelists noted the importance of participation, power devolution, and visionary leadership. “We create a sense of belonging and trust by including citizens, making sure we all commit to a common goal,” noted Mohamed Ridouani, Mayor of Leuven, Belgium. Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone, emphasized being able to “manage our own urban spaces,” drawing on citizens’ creative ideas to build resilient and sustainable cities. “Even in these unprecedented times,” noted Jeff Merritt, the World Economic Forum’s Head of IoT & Urban Transformation, “Cities can be a place of innovation, of creativity, of new ideas, and most importantly, of hope and inspiration.” But, he added, they need the support of such essential partners as private businesses, academia, and NGOs.

His Excellency the President of the Portuguese Republic, Professor Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, ended the session by asserting, “We have the means and the knowledge to tackle structural problems and to manage cities in a more intelligent and efficient way.” He pointed out the importance of committing to values such as social cohesion, climate protection, and sustainability. “Cities can become inclusive and sustainable, in balance with the global ecosystem, and flourishing with human creativity, development and tolerance,” he concluded. “Our citizens expect this from us and we cannot disappoint them.” 

More than 7,000 attendees from 70 countries came together during the Deloitte Urban Future with a Purpose series, working to pave the way to greener, more inclusive, and more sustainable cities. As noted during this series, by committing both political will and financial resources, the public and the private sectors can work together to build a better urban future.

Keynote speakers:

His Excellency, the President of the Portuguese Republic, Professor Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa  Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President, European Commission

Featured speakers:

Yvonne Aki-SawyerrMayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone 
Mizutori Mami
Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, United Nations 
Jeff MerrittHead of IoT & Urban Transformation, World Economic Forum
Maimunah Mohd SharifExecutive Director, UN Habitat
Miguel Pinto Luz, Vice-Mayor of Cascais, Portugal 
Kishore RaoGlobal Sector Leader for International Donor Organizations, Deloitte   
Mohamed Ridouani, Mayor of Leuven, Belgium   
Sameh Wahba, Global Director, Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land Global Practice, World Bank

Webinar hosted by:

Lídia Pereira, Member of the European Parliament
Miguel Eiras Antunes, Global Smart City, Smart Nation and Local Government Leader, Deloitte

For more information regarding the webinar series, please contact Sofia Godinho Marques.

Future of Urban Mobility

On June 2, the third webinar in the “Urban Future with a Purpose” series was held, focusing on the future of urban mobility after COVID-19.

Key takeaways:

The pandemic has accelerated the urban mobility transformation. A key challenge now is to understand which changes will (and should) be permanent and which are temporary.

Urban mobility requires a strategic approach. In 2020, Deloitte published the report Activating a Seamless Integrated Mobility (SIM) System, underlining the importance of making strategic choices in order to make urban mobility faster, cleaner, safer, more affordable, and more inclusive.

Cities are the best living laboratories for mobility, with innovation and digitalization the key drivers of climate neutrality. In his keynote address, the European Commission’s Director General, Henrik Hololei, pointed out that cities are often the best living laboratories and that, as we recover from COVID-19, we have to continue the push towards climate neutrality in the mobility sector. Innovation and digitalization are key drivers for these efforts. “Disruption can be an accelerator,” said Hololei, expressing the hope that Europe’s future mobility will be smarter and even more sustainable.

Efforts need to be made to help the public feel safe again on public transport post-pandemic. Public transport is still recovering from lower usage rates due to the pandemic, and efforts to increase ridership will need to center on making the public feel safe again. Faustino Gomes, the President of Lisbon’s new Metropolitan Transport Association, pointed out the importance of ensuring seamless transition between transport modes in a post-COVID world and how it can encourage ridership and help the public feel more comfortable in a public transport setting.

New bike lanes as well as more pedestrian and low-emission zones can aid transport’s recovery. Lola Ortiz Sánchez, General Director of Planning and Mobility Infrastructure in Madrid, emphasized that a more sustainable freight and transport network with new bike lanes and more pedestrian and low-emission zones will benefit residents and help re-ignite tourism.

Communication can promote and incentivize environmental-friendly means of transportation. “We need to make more information about public transport available to customers in order to incentivize the use of environmental-friendly modes of transportation,” said Michael Frankenberg of Siemens Mobility.

Investment is needed to make alternative, sustainable choices more attractive. The panel discussed ways to make urban mobility smarter and more sustainable. Elke van den Brandt, Mobility Minister of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region, pointed out that mobility is a key topic in city planning and that there is a need to invest in making alternative choices such as public transport, bikes, and walking more attractive. This could be achieved using a mobility budget, which would benefit from IT support from a company such as Siemens.

Electric, shared, interconnected, and autonomous vehicles and drones will shape urban mobility. Looking towards the future, Sandra Watson, CEO of Arizona’s Commerce Authority, painted a picture of what urban mobility could look like in the years to come. Electric, shared, inter-connected, and autonomous vehicles and drones are already a reality on Arizona’s streets, which, she termed, a “living urban mobility laboratory” of the future. “Leading with vision and working collaboratively with the industry to implement ideas are key,” she concluded.

The pandemic will have a lasting impact on business travel and daily commuting. Panelists agreed that the future of urban mobility has been changed drastically by COVID-19. “Parts of travel might come back as soon as the pandemic ends, but some areas like business travel and daily commuting to work might be changed for the long time,” said Klaus Entenmann, Senior Advisor for Deloitte’s Global Future of Mobility.

Urban mobility needs to be more resilient. With mobility and transport critical to our future, our climate, our quality of life, and our prosperity, the panelists asserted that urban mobility needs to be more resilient to risks such as a pandemics, as well as more people-centered, sustainable, and on-demand. Only then can urban mobility develop new business models, spur new investment, and innovate in the face of disruption.

Featured speakers:

Henrik Hololei, Director-General for Mobility, European Commission
Lola Ortiz Sánchez, General Director of Planning and Mobility Infrastructure, Madrid City Council
Faustino Gomes, President, Metropolitan Transport of Lisbon
Elke Van den Brandt, Minister of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region, responsible for Mobility, Public Works and Road Safety
Sandra Watson, President & CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority
Michael FrankenbergCEO HaCon and Head of Intermodal Solutions, Siemens Mobility
Klaus EntermannSenior Advisor, Future of Global Mobility, Deloitte                 

Webinar hosted by:

Lídia Pereira, Member of the European Parliament
Miguel Eiras Antunes, Global Smart City, Smart Nation and Local Government Leader, Deloitte

For more information regarding the webinar series, please contact Sofia Godinho Marques.

On 18 March, the second webinar in the ‘Urban Future with a Purpose’ series was held, focusing on how data and technology are being used to make cities more inclusive. 

Key takeaways:

  • The importance of data to cities and our society is undeniable. As we increasingly use data and analytics to understand our world, we are better prepared to develop and implement more inclusive public policies and digital tools as well as deliver better targeted services.
  • A recent Deloitte survey of more than 800 CIOs around the globe highlighted the strategic importance of data in the post−COVID-19 era. Two-thirds of government CIOs have increased their financial commitment to digital transformation, and 74% have accelerated their digital transformation journey. 
  • Microsoft president Brad Smith shared his perspective regarding the use of technology and digital platforms to increase citizen involvement and create more sustainable, inclusive cities with a better quality of life for all: “The impact of technology is a little bit like what we are seeing in everything else. [It] has become one of the most powerful tools to solve all the problems on the planet, but it has also become a formidable weapon. What we need to do is work together to get the best out of technology, while protecting all challenges and solutions.” 
  • The move towards data-driven operations—ranging from public safety to city operations and services—holds great promise but also introduces serious risks, noted Jeff Merritt, Head of IoT and Urban Transformation at the World Economic Forum. He referred to the important work of the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance in helping to safeguard against these risks and called upon all to help ensure that these technologies are leveraged in a way that addresses systemic challenges in cities, such as growing inequalities, as well as called for the renewal of the commitment to public-private cooperation on these issues.
  • The featured panel discussion focused on digital transformation viewed from a social and inclusion perspective; ensuring that this moment of great reset also becomes a moment for greater shared prosperity; and the meaning of digital, social, and social care inclusion. The panel comprised Jeff Merritt as well as Martin Brynskov, Chair of Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC); Kirby Brady, Chief Innovation Officer from the City of San Diego; and Debbie Sills, Deloitte’s Global Consulting Leader for Government & Public Services.
  • In the panel discussion, Martin Brynskov emphasized that accessibility and trust are fundamental in driving and achieving digital urban inclusion. Kirby Brady focused on the digital divide in cities: “If broadband access is fundamental to our wealth and well-being and to achieving our economic potential—as is running water or electricity—then it really needs to be an amenity available to all.” She also pointed out that the divide has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
  • The panel also discussed how social care is another area in which technology and data can play a critical role. Debbie Sills emphasized that now is the time to move forward in this area as we not only have the technology and data capabilities but also a broader community focus on solving problems. She noted that this is the focus of Deloitte’s Social Care Innovation Council, a forum that will gather leaders from all over the world to discuss these topics. She also added that, with data, governments are better able to understand the needs of citizens and can design and implement public policies based on human-driven outcomes.

Featured speakers:

Brad Smith, President, Microsoft
Jeff Merrit, Head of IoT and Urban Transformation, World Economic Forum
Kirby Brady, Chief Innovation Officer, City of San Diego
Debbie Sills, Global Consulting Leader for Government & Public Services, Deloitte
Martin Brynskov, Chair, Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC)

Webinar hosted by:

Lídia Pereira, Member of the European Parliament
Miguel Eiras Antunes, Global Smart City, Smart Nation and Local Government Leader, Deloitte

For more information regarding the webinar series, please contact Sofia Godinho Marques.

The inaugural ‘Urban Future with a Purpose’ webinar, held 28 January 2021, focused on how governments and organizations are working together to create the society of the future—one that will be greener, more sustainable, prosperous, digital, and just.

Key takeaways:

  • The global reach of the pandemic has resulted in multiple humanitarian, economic, and health crises. The economic impact could amount to US$10 trillion in forgone GDP in 2020 and 2021. Yet, these are also times of great investments. Over the next two years, governments around the world will seek to spend approximately €10 trillion to finance the economic recovery.
  • Public policies and public investments play a critical role in shaping the society of tomorrow, and so do organizations and investors. Only with an integrated response, a truly inclusive and sustainable society will be achieved. “A climate- neutral, zero-waste and, above all, healthy future requires everyone's commitment,” said Ursula Von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. “It requires guidance and funding from the European institutions…But it also requires vision and engagement from local administrators and the private sector.”
  • The pandemic has profoundly changed the way we experience cities. As Ms Ursula Von der Leyen, President of the European Commission stated “We, must adapt our urban environments to new challenges, giving us an unique opportunity to rethink and reshape the way we live.”
  • The European Green Deal is the EU response for a clean, circular and environmentally friendly economy. Built on the principles of the circular economy, the EU has put together a recovery package worth almost €2 trillion to finance a green recovery, the largest stimulus package in the history of the Union. “We want to use these investments, not only to restart the economy, but also to improve the air we breathe in our cities,” said Von der Leyen. “Half of the waste is produced in cities. We need to change our culture and invest in the transition”  She stressed that “cities must be involved and contribute to this effort. They can offer projects that meet our European goals of the green and digital transition, …. Because the city is where all the challenges are coming together.”
  • The World Economic Forum has led the development of a set of core environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics that will result in long-term value creation for business, society and the planet. Punit Renjen, Deloitte Global CEO, and Brian Moynihan, Bank of America CEO, discussed how ESG metrics and their adoption can speed progress towards the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and create long-term value.  “With businesses working together, we can advance stakeholder capitalism,” said Renjen. “This is not just the right thing to do, but the right business thing to do.”

Featured Speakers:

Ursula Von der Leyen, President of the European Commission
Punit Renjen, Deloitte Global CEO
Brian Moynihan, Bank of America CEO

Webinar Hosted by:

Lídia Pereira, Member of the European Parliament
Miguel Eiras Antunes, Global Smart City, Smart Nation and Local Government Leader, Deloitte

For more information regarding the webinar series, please contact Sofia Godinho Marques.

For more information regarding the webinar series, please contact Sofia Godinho Marques.

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