Cities must take urgent action to overcome a myriad of challenges and create safer and more sustainable places for citizens to live, said Ugo Valenti, director of Smart City Expo World Congress (SCEWC), when opening the event in Barcelona, Spain, on 7 November 2023.
Welcoming delegates to the three-day event, Valenti explained that cities worldwide are facing challenges related to rapid urbanisation, climate change, geopolitics, the rising cost of living and more. He urged cities to act swiftly to find ways to overcome these issues – and to do so in a collaborative and inclusive manner to ensure all citizens benefit from equal access to opportunities, services and resources.
“In a world full of challenges, cities really need to work together and take action,” he said. “They need to walk the talk.”
He added: “The true essence of a smart city lies in putting people at the forefront.”
Maria Tsavachidis, CEO of EIT Urban Mobility, echoed Valenti’s sentiments in her welcome address at SCEWC, which is expected to welcome a record-breaking 25,000 professionals and more than 600 speakers and exhibitors from over 140 countries.
“Terror, war, societal challenges and politics are setting us back but they’re not stopping us,” she said. “We’re seeing so much innovation in urban mobility, and faster than ever before. We need close collaboration between all actors – public and private – to solve the problems that cities are facing today.”
Maria Tsavachidis of EIT Urban Mobility discussed innovation in urban mobility and overcoming challenges facing development