Digital technologies have opened up exciting new ways of making the cities and communities where we live cleaner, easier and more efficient. Smart cities have seen better organisation of traffic, new business opportunities, better adapted services, and new ways of holding local governments to account.

However, the full impact of smarter cities will only come when all members of society can seize the opportunities on offer, from better connectivity to new digital services and chances to get involved in decision-making.

Libraries in the Mix

The UN STI Forum brings together governments, technology firms, NGOs and experts to discuss how best to use technology to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

SDG11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) saw the UN’s Member States recognises this, making a number of references to the importance of inclusion. It underlines the need both for universal basic services, and specific efforts to ensure that everyone can feel welcome and comfortable.

Libraries offer this universal service and a safe trusted space for all. Moreover, through training and informal support, they can make the difference in giving people the skills and confidence to get the most out of the Internet. In her presentation, Donna Scheeder used examples from Australia, France, Chile and Colombia to explain the difference made by making full use of libraries in smart cities policies.

You can find the text of Donna’s intervention as a pdf.