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About Smart Cities for All

  

G3ict and World Enabled launched the Smart Cities for All initiative to define the state of ICT accessibility in Smart Cities worldwide. Our focus is to eliminate the digital divide for persons with disabilities and older persons in Smart Cities around the world. We are partnering with leading organizations and companies to create and deploy the tools and strategies needed to build more inclusive Smart Cities.

Read the latest white paper: Smart Cities for All: A Vision for an Inclusive, Accessible Urban FuturePDF File Opens in a new window

Mission

Our Mission is to eliminate the digital divide for persons with disabilities and older persons in Smart Cities programs worldwide.

Vision

Smart Cities are inclusive and use innovative technologies to benefit persons with disabilities and older persons.

Leading Organizations

The Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies is an advocacy initiative launched in December 2006 by the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development, in cooperation with the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at UN DESA. Its mission is to support and help implement the goals of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), promoting digital accessibility and Assistive Technologies. More information can be found at G3ict External Website that opens in a new window

World Enabled is a global education, communications, and strategic consulting group. It supports companies and governments with the full implementation of legal mandates that promote the rights of persons with disabilities. Its work and research initiatives focus on urban planning and inclusive urban development. With its international partners, it helps build inclusive societies where people with disabilities can fully develop their talents and reach their full potential. More information can be found at World Enabled External Website that opens in a new window

Our Team

James-2

James Thurston

James Thurston is an internationally recognized technology policy leader. As G3ict’s Vice President for Global Strategy and Development, he leads the design and implementation of new programs and has advised high-ranking government leaders in the US and abroad on technology policy, human rights, and digital inclusion.

Dr. Victor Santiago Pineda

Dr. Victor Santiago Pineda

Dr. Victor Santiago Pineda is the President of World Enabled and President of the Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES). He is a recognized leader in international disability rights and was appointed by US President Barak Obama to the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board.

Smart Cities for All Toolkit

The toolkit contains four tools to help Smart Cities worldwide include a focus on ICT accessibility and the digital inclusion of persons with disabilities and older persons.

The toolkit supports a range of organizations and roles related to Smart Cities, including government managers, policy makers, IT professionals, disability advocates, procurement officials, technology suppliers, and developers who design Smart City apps and solutions.

Each of the tools addresses a priority challenge identified by global experts as a barrier to the digital inclusion of persons with disabilities and older persons in Smart Cities.

 

New Tools in Development

The Smart Cities for All global initiative continues to build new resources to meet the needs of cities worldwide. Currently under development are the following new tools for the SC4A toolkit:

Measuring Digital Inclusion in Your City

Smart Cities for All has developed and is now piloting a new Smart City Digital Inclusion Maturity Model with the support and strategic partnership of Microsoft and global experts...

Innovation is the key to Smarter Cities

Smart Cities for All has launched its new Inclusive Innovation for Smarter Cities project with the support and strategic partnership of AT&T...

Our Data

The Smart Cities for All initiative confirms through its research that most of today’s Smart Cities, in both the global north and the global south, are not fully accessible. The result is a growing digital divide for persons with disabilities and older persons.

The Smart Cities for All initiative engages experts and communities in an ongoing way to generate new data and learnings related to digital inclusion in Smart Cities.

Highlights from the Smart Cities for All Global Survey

In 2016-17, the initiative surveyed more than 400 international experts from city governments, industry, civil society, and academia, and convened a series of expert roundtable discussions with program managers, disabled persons organizations, and technologists in Smart Cities worldwide. Our work is informed by this rigorous research.

DOWNLOAD HIGHLIGHTS FROM OUR GLOBAL SURVEY (Powerpoint PPT fileOpens in a new window)

TAKE OUR GLOBAL SURVEY (English External Website that opens in a new window, Spanish External Website that opens in a new window)

Smart Cities are Leaving Millions of People Behind

60 %

of global experts believe that Smart Cities are failing persons with disabilities.

Smart Cities are Not Accessible

18 %

of global experts know of a Smart City that uses ICT accessibility standards.

Disability and the Digital Divide

23 %

of Americans with disabilities never go online, compared with 8% of the general US population.

All News and Views

A Smart City Is An Accessible City

Die Smart City muss behindertengerecht werden!

“Tech Intensity” for Smarter, More Inclusive Cities

Chicago to pilot tool to boost disability access for smart cities

Chicago to pilot new project to make cities more accessible

Smart Cities names Chicago as first city for Digital Inclusion pilot project

What People Are Saying

- Vladimir Cuk, Executive Director, International Disability Alliance

G3ict and World Enabled’s Smart Cities for All initiative exposes a stark problem and describes the growing risk for persons with disabilities in today’s Smart Cities - a growing digital divide.

- Victor Calise, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, NY

New York City has increased its commitment to digital inclusion and the tools that G3ict and World Enabled are building are the exact steps that Smart Cities need to follow.

- Toni Townes-Whitley, Vice President, Microsoft

The Smart Cities for All Toolkit empowers city leaders and urban planners to make their programs truly ‘smart’ by being inclusive and accessible by design.

- Mike Zeto, Vice President and General Manager of Smart Cities, AT&T

We’re working with Smart Cities for All to help ensure that as more and more cities implement smart city strategies, they can do so with inclusion in mind from the very start.

- Mayor Mauricio Rodas of Quito, Ecuador

Quito was the first city in Latin America to contribute to the Smart Cities for All Toolkit. As Mayor, I am committed to deploying technology solutions for human needs, solutions that align with the Sustainable Development Goals.

- Elkin Velasquez, Regional Director of UN-Habitat ROLAC

We are proud to work with Smart Cities for All to enhance inclusion and accessibility in Latin American cities. We want to integrate the concept of universal design into the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals.

- Yuval Wagner, President and Founder of Access Israel

Access Israel is proud to be one of the leading organizations in the world promoting ICT accessibility. We believe the translated [into Hebrew] toolkit will help a lot for the implementation of accessible ICT technologies making sure digital smart cities will be accessible for people with disabilities.

- Danielle DuMerer Commissioner and Chief Innovation Officer for the City of Chicago

Cities like Chicago are looking to innovate and provide better digital services. The tools developed by Smart Cities for All are unique and can help cities make measurable progress on digital inclusion and digital accessibility.

- Geraldo Nogueira, Undersecretary in the Mayor’s Office for Persons with Disabilities, City of Rio de Janeiro

We see here in Brazil, especially in cities such as Rio, a need for this kind of tool [Maturity Model]. We are delighted that Smart Cities for All is taking the initiative to get one developed and make it available. It is urgent to set in place a process for digital inclusion in cities throughout Brazil, otherwise we will suffer a setback in the social inclusion of people with disabilities.

- Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Chief Accessibility Officer at Microsoft

At Microsoft, we are working every day to create accessible technologies that advance inclusion for everyone. Supporting the development of this maturity model aligns with our work, and we are excited about its potential to help cities meet their inclusion goals.

- Tim Springer, CEO of Level Access

The Smart Cities [for All] initiative is a crucial step toward cities that truly embrace every citizen. We see access to technology as a key part of ensuring that people with disabilities can fully participate in their communities and lead more independent lives.

- Joshua Fouts, Executive Director of Bioneers

Providing a platform for radically inclusive social justice solutions is at the heart of the work that Bioneers does. And the Smart Cities for All global initiative is singularly emblematic of what it means to pursue equitable, just, access to technology to all people.

- Mrs. Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the UAE to the UN

The use of innovative technologies to provide our citizens with disabilities greater accessibility is a fundamental priority for the UAE… For our region, the development of the SC4A toolkits in Arabic will mark an important step in the use of technology for implementing international human rights agreements.

- Trudy Norris-Grey, Managing Director, Microsoft CityNext

Microsoft is excited to partner with G3ict and World Enabled to help drive the next wave of inclusive and connected city solutions. The introduction of the Smart City for All toolkit in 8 languages provides new opportunities for local leaders to ensure their community’s digital transformation reaches everyone, leaving no one behind. As technology and urbanization continue to change the way governments interact with citizens, Microsoft CityNext applauds the work Smart City for All is delivering and their continued efforts to scale tools and resources globally to support city development for all.

- Prashant Ranjan Verma, General Secretary of the India National Association for the Blind

I appreciate the Smart Cities for All (SC4A) initiative for bringing out the maturity model, designed to help cities assess and benchmark their level of digital inclusion and ICT accessibility. This tool will bring the much-needed focus on digital inclusion, which often gets overshadowed by the emphasis on physical accessibility. Without accessibility of ICT infrastructure and services, a large section of the population is in the danger of getting far left behind due to digital divide.

- Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo, Global Disability Advisor at the World Bank

To operationalize Inclusive Smart Cities, we need a suite of good tools on digital inclusion and digital accessibility. The SC4A toolkit is a welcomed contribution to advancing article 11 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Moving Forward

G3ict and World Enabled believe that six interrelated strategies can help address the barriers to digital inclusion in today’s global Smart Cities. The six strategies described in this document will help ensure that Smart Cities worldwide, their policies, programs, and growing technology investments, will not leave behind persons with disabilities and older persons.

Download the Six Strategies Towards More Inclusive Smart Cities WorldwidePDF File Opens in a new window

Smart Cities for All: A Vision for an Inclusive, Accessible Urban Future

AT&T and Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) have created this report to help cities identify ways that smart city technologies can adopt a people-first approach to benefit people with disabilities and older citizens. The paper takes its name from the G3ict and World Enabled Smart Cities for All global initiative.

Download the Smart Cities for All: A Vision for an Inclusive, Accessible Urban FuturePDF File Opens in a new window

Microsoft Support

Microsoft is pleased to support the SC4A initiative and shares the belief that technology empowers persons with disabilities to achieve more in the places where they live and work. For more on MSFT's commitment to cities and its commitment to accessibility visit:

Key Terms

Any person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. These limitations are in part shaped by environmental barriers that hinder a person’s full participation in society on an equal basis with others. Older persons can acquire such impairments as part of the aging process.

The Smart Cities Council defines a Smart City as one that “uses information and communications technology (ICT) to enhance its livability, workability, and sustainability.”

ICT accessibility is generally accepted as being the quality of a mainstream technology such as a computer, mobile phone, self-service kiosk, or piece of software, to be used by the widest range of users possible regardless of their abilities or disabilities.