‘The mayors have more space, how are we using that?’

Aisa Kirabo KacyiraAisa Kirabo Kacyira, Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary-General for UN-Habitat, argues that a city first needs a good working sustainable system which engages all the people. ‘This foundation cannot be replaced by technology.’

The former mayor of Kigali, the capital of Ruanda, one of the keynote-speakers of the Smart& Safe City Event 2017 in The Hague, speaks passionately about the cities of the future. A good system is according her essential. ‘You can try to be smart or safe but it will never be sustainable. As soon as leadership changes or other challenges turn up, it’s slips away.’

Three important steps

She points out three important steps: ‘First is the governance. How to create a system to engages people, inclusively. So that we know that the information we gather is right and realistic. Don’t forget the perspective of a young women can be different than the view of a man, of migrants. You need to be able to capture all the segregated information. You have especially be aware of the voices who are marginalized, who normally wouldn’t be otherwise be heard by you as a leader.’ Building this system, is also building local representative leadership. This is the foundation.’

‘This foundation cannot be replaced by technology. Your technology would work with the wrong information and wrong results. The second important point is the policies and the laws, which will guide how we plan and design the city. They guide how we organise the infrastructure and services, how to allocate budgets to fix the issues that come up and the policies also arrange the monitoring of our plans.’

‘Third is capacity. We found that in many cities, there are capacity-gaps. For example, cities have very good urban planners but what is lacking is the integration of the psychical planning with the social issues. Also, integration between different sectors is important. You have to have a specialized but also integrated system.’

A mayor has an important role to create this inclusive system?

What is the role of the mayor if he does not create a leadership platform that advises him objectively and inclusively? Because you are not all mighty, you are only as good as the quality of the information that you use to make your decisions. Technology is a tool, we can access the different forums for information sharing, you can educate. It is a tool to engagement, a tool that enables to achieve your goals.

Technology can also break down the barriers that we come against with as leaders. I felt for example sometimes very lonely as a mayor, it is a demanding job. But when I connected with the other mayors I realized ‘Oh, it is not only me’ That is why the forming of networks and partnership is important. Also, the international community is increasingly realizing the importance of local governors. The mayors have more space, but how are we using it? We should get that space and maximize it.’

Smart City Event 2018

The International Smart City Event where you will experience the latest smart solutions for the city of the future!

The 8th edition of the international Smart City Event will take place in The Hague (The Netherlands) on the 27th and 28th of June 2018

Last year over 700 professionals from different countries and cities, came together in The Hague. This year, experts from leading cities will be on stage to present their unique projects of smart cities. During these 2 days there will be several keynote speeches, round table sessions, excursions and much more!

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