Role of ICTs in Inclusive Urban Development

ICTs have uses in nearly every aspect of development, but they are especially important in urban development. Modern technology not only enables the implementation of the SDGs, but they also serve as a poverty reduction mechanism and a tool accessibility. ICTs can reduce the digital divide in urban settings and ensure that PWD and other vulnerable groups have avenues for participation and equity.

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In terms of transportation and accessibility, ICTs are vital sources of effective and efficient communication. For instance, the Internet of Things, or machine-to-machine communication can be used to keep metros and buses running smoothly and in a timely manner. Apps for smartphones can be equipped with audio technology so that users can be alerted when their bus or train has arrived or of changes in schedules. ICTs can be used in emergent situations to notify people of hazards and evacuation routes so that they can get themselves to safety. These technologies have a multitude of other uses, but in every role, ICTs enhance the lives of users and enable them to live more independently.

Sustainability-wise, ICTs can be used to make cities more energy efficient and less dependent on dirty sources of fuel. ICTs can help create self-driving cars that are usable by anyone and everyone; they can create water sanitation services that effectively utilize wastewater; and they can help facilitate waste management systems that keep all areas of the city clean.

Developing cities to use smart ICTs in an inclusive manner requires intentional planning and development. A wide variety of stakeholders need to be involved at all stages of the planning process and there needs to be feedback mechanisms so that these technologies can be updated to meet the ever-changing needs of urban dwellers.

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