About 50% of the world’s urban population live in small and medium-sized cities, but smaller cities have fewer resources and less capacity than their larger global counterparts to implement the governance necessary to realise the benefits of smart cities.

To address this imbalance, the World Economic Forum is launching regional networks of cities in Latin America and South Asia to help spread knowledge on smart city development among smaller cities, particularly focusing on privacy, security and sustainability.

Under the umbrella of the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance, WEF is introducing city networks that will connect “pioneer cities” from the Global Alliance with the smaller cities within their region.

With the first two set up in Medellín and Mumbai, the networks will be hosted by the Centres for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Colombia and India, and efforts will be supported by partners of the World Economic Forum and the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) Global Network. The roll out follows the successful establishment of this model in a number of Japanese cities, led by the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Japan.

Cities in Latin America and India will be invited to meet regularly to analyse smart city policies and will receive technical support from the Forum’s network of global experts.

Founding members of the Regional Alliance for Latin America are Bogotá, Colombia; Brasília, Brazil; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Córdoba, Argentina; Medellín, Colombia and Mexico City, Mexico.

Founding members of the National Alliance for India are Bengaluru, Bhopal, Faridabad, Hyderabad, Indore, Kohima, Mangalore, Raipur, Shillong and Thane.

“When we launched the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance during Japan’s presidency, we could see city governments asking for global best practices that would allow them to compete in a global, tech-driven economy. But we also knew that smaller cities would struggle to implement these practices without local support,” said Chizuru Suga, Head of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Japan. “That is why we launched the global alliance in parallel with a national initiative to unite cities across Japan for adapting and sharing global best practices.”

Riku Miyamoto, Mayor of Kaga City adds, “We can learn from global best practices and still get a local perspective on issues that matter to our residents.”