C3 Sustainable smart cities: Using the opportunities, facing the risks

20 Jun 2018
16:00 - 17:30

C3 Sustainable smart cities: Using the opportunities, facing the risks

Cities are increasingly shaped by information and communication technologies with the promise that these will help optimize the urban space. From water to energy consumption, transportation, waste selection and infrastructure management, the digital revolution is depicted as a new avenue for urban sustainability.

However, digital technologies are not a silver bullet and in fact come with their own limits and risks. Among others:

  • The efficiency gains achieved by digital technologies are hardly ever measured against the high energy and material consumption that their production, maintenance and replacement require.
  • Digital technologies have complex and ambivalent effects on the consumption patterns of municipalities, businesses and individuals, thus blurring or offsetting the link between digitalization and increased sustainability.
  • These technologies generate new challenges to urban systems resilience like data security and privacy risks which are often disregarded or underestimated by local governments and technology providers alike.

Clearly, digitalization is a development trend that must be well managed. This session will feature the efforts of municipalities who have been using digital technologies to promote civic engagement and a culture of sufficiency and gather experts to discuss the risks of pursuing digitalization as a goal rather than a potential means to achieve sustainability.

The goal of this session is to discuss how cities can better prepare themselves to make informed decision on how digital technologies can be used purposefully and critically reflected upon as tools for sustainable development.


Roman Mendle
Smart Cities Program Manager, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability


Veivo Risto
Project Manager, City of Turku

Kathy Oldham
Chief Resilience Officer, Greater Manchester Combined Authorities

Stéphane Guindon
Director- Smart City, City of Montréal

Megan Marcoux
Co-founder, CityInclusive

Bojan Francuz
Co-founder, CityInclusive

Yannick Beaudoin
Director General- Ontario and Northern Canada, David Suzuki Foundation