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The Art of the Possible

‘Smart Dublin’ is an initiative led by the four Dublin Local Authorities that sets out to engage with smart technology providers, researchers and citizens to solve city challenges and improve city life. As Smart City Program Manager in Dublin City Council, I have a remit to ensure that the city takes advantage of emerging technology trends in a way that creates better outcomes for citizens as well as creating new economic opportunities. This can only be achieved through collaboration and engagement, a key feature of Smart Dublin, and which was central to the recent ‘City Possible’ engagement showcased at the launch of the 16th edition of the Dublin Economic Monitor.

A new model of collaboration for cities
Dublin was one of the founding members of a global network for urban co-development called City Possible. What attracted us to this global network was the opportunity to work with a selection of like-minded cities and organisations that understand both the challenges and opportunities of urban development. We firmly believe that successful cites in the future will be defined by their ability to embrace innovative approaches to public-private partnerships, which in turn can help bring about inclusive and evidence based urban development.

Addressing global challenges at a local level
‘Innovate or die’ was a theme explored by an expert panel at the Economic Monitor launch. By engaging key retailers, policy makers and sectoral groups we were able to explore the future of retail in Dublin, the role of e-commerce and customer experience, and how technology and access to data insights can develop resilience within the retail sector. The changing face of retail in our cities is one particular global issue that presents a significant challenge for business and city policymakers alike
Through City Possible we have been able to draw on Mastercard’s data analytics capabilities, testing an Economic Development Platform to better understand the impact of specific events – such as St Patrick’s Day – or weather, such as the ‘Beast from the East’ storm last year, and how they might drive policy decisions on the local retail industry. This is turn will help inform better planning outcomes for Dublin’s residents and visitors.

The end goal: inclusive urban development
The use of aggregated and anonymized data to gather insights will help our city go farther, faster, and ultimately do more to support the communities we serve. For Dublin, City Possible is coming to life. It’s also ensuring the city can move to an evidence based approach to urban development – one which changes the conversation and allows a more informed debate on the impact of policy changes across the city. We look forward to sharing our experiences as this project evolves.

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