In an urbanised country like the Netherlands, the biggest impact of megatrends can be witnessed in urban regions. Changes in technology, demographics and climate, and the perception of convenience and security, are factors which need to be resolved in major cities. Urban regions are now being forced to change because they have to compete with each other, in the same way countries once used to. Which role do you want to play in the future of your urban region?
Successful urban regions – smart urban regions – are able to compete in a sustainable manner by finding a balance between economic development, social cohesion and quality of the living environment. Economic growth can be maximised by incorporating these three objectives in a holistic approach. This was one of the conclusions of international research that PwC has been conducting since 2005, under the titles iUrban and Cities of Opportunity.
This integral approach in ‘smart cities’ requires collaboration based on trust, involving all parties in the regional ecosystem (‘Penta-helix’): the public and private sector, social organisations, learning institutions and members of the general public - both young and old. But this will also require flexibility which allows new approaches to be attempted within new partnerships. Innovative leadership is essential.
Within this approach, municipal authorities transform from individual entities to a whole network, and will no longer be the sole service provider – they will act as a versatile facilitator or supply chain manager for the various involved parties. Bonds can be reinforced using new technologies and ‘open’ and ‘big’ data, which will help to improve measurability and predictability. These parties can then work together to resolve social problems and generate value for the public.
We are involved in large-scale national and international transformation programmes - from the strategy phase to the execution of smart city projects, which involves collaborating with governments, knowledge institutions and other important public and private stakeholders. Due to our research into smart urban regions, we have been able to acquire a great deal of international knowledge and data, which we would now like to share with you.
We are able to transform casual regional relationships into effective partnerships within new organisations, and can help to give these organisations the required agility. We would also like to share our latest concepts for leadership, governance and financing. How will you be addressing the competitiveness of your region?