Building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation is the the ninth goal of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
How to create more resilient, intelligent and democratic cities? To provide adequate public services we must first create the foundations for them to exist. We are talking about urban infrastructures, the set of networks that allows a population to live with quality of life. As exemples, we can mention transportation systems, such as highways and sidewalks; electricity, drainage and sewerage systems; gas and drinking water supplies; in addition to telephone services and, of course, the industry.
It is not difficult to imagine why investing on infrastructure is the first step to guarantee a better city. Included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the SDG 9 – Industry, innovation and infrastructure aims to “build resilient infrastructures, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation”. Its mission is precisely to create opportunities for a good quality of life and to guarantee basic rights for the entire population.
Therefore, when a city meets all SDG 9 goals, it is also on track to improve a number of other aspects mentioned in Agenda 2030. After all, a good infrastructure not only transforms the quality of services, but also promotes economic development by guaranteeing jobs and income, a goal mentioned in SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth. By creating an inclusive and sustainable industry, that offers decent work to everyone, a city is also aligned with SDG 1 – No Poverty and SDG 5 – Gender Equality.
Investing on industry also means investing in technology and innovation, ensuring more sustainable, efficient and intelligent services. That is the goal of SDG 7 – Clean and Accessible Energy, which aims to develop cleaner, modern and cheaper energy sources for all. With more than half of the world’s population living in urban areas today, rethinking how we move, consume and reuse natural resources is essential for creating a better future and planet.
When Bright Cities diagnoses a city, a series of indicators are evaluated to identify which areas need improvements and, consequently, a better infrastructure. Ten categories are analyzed, including Governance and Urbanism – both of them directly related to the goals proposed by SDG 9. While the first is dedicated to measuring how the city provides solutions to community challenges and meets the needs of its citizens, the second identifies how these demands can be resolved by analyzing data such as density, regularization and structure of cities.
Our platform uses a disruptive technology, capable of carrying out a complete diagnosis of a municipality based on 160 international indicators. We listed some of them below to explain why they are an important tool for identifying, evaluating and guiding cities towards the SDG 9 – Industry, innovation and infrastructure:
- Indicator “Percentage of the population with authorized electricity service”: evaluates the portion of the population that has access to this basic infrastructure. The indicator is aligned with the goal 9.1 of SDG 9: “Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all”;
- Indicator “Number of new entrepreneurs”: with the data obtained, it is possible to analyze whether a city can create a business environment with new employment opportunities and technology incubators, as mentioned in goal 9.2 of SDG 9: “Promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and, by 2030, significantly raise industry’s share of employment and gross domestic product, in line with national circumstances, and double its share in least developed countries”;
- Indicator “Pavement and sidewalk coverage rate in urban area”: reveals the proportion of public covered recreational space in m² per inhabitant, according to goal 9.4 of SDG 9: “By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities”.
It is through the data obtained with these and many other indicators that the Bright Cities platform is able to create a complete diagnosis for cities. Besides identifying areas that need improvement, we also develop a roadmap with smart solutions to solve the pointed urban problems. Our platform maps and identifies positive initiatives for cities, with a database that includes more than 1.000 smart solutions for smart cities, the largest in the world!
One of the solutions that achieves positive impacts for a city’s infrastructure is the IDB’s Smart and Sustainable Cities Program, which employs a multidisciplinary approach to identify, organize and prioritize urban interventions to tackle the main roadblocks that prevent the sustainable growth of emerging cities in Latin America and the Caribbean. The program’s methodology is based on the premise that urban development strategies that are well-planned, integrated, and cross-sectoral can ensure improvements in the quality of life for citizens and help materialize a more sustainable, resilient and inclusive future for emerging cities in the region.
Initiatives like this, that improve a sustainable industrial sector, are more important than ever, given that the area has been losing participation in the global economy. According to a survey released by the World Bank Group, industry represented 27% of world GDP in 2010, falling to 25% in 2018. Since 2014, global employment in the industrial sector has also fallen, from 23.22% to 22.95% four years later.
According to the UN, although infrastructure financing has increased in developing countries, many still face serious challenges to boost the industry’s participation in the national GDP and continue to invest little in scientific research and innovation. According to the UN:
- In developing countries, only 30% of agricultural products undergo industrial processing, compared with 98% in developed countries. This suggests that there is a great opportunity for agricultural business in developing countries;
- In some low-income African countries, infrastructure constraints reduce business productivity by about 40%;
- The effect of industrialized jobs had a positive impact on society. Each job in the industry generates 2.2 jobs in other sectors;
- Although there was an increase in the number of researchers per million inhabitant, from 804 in 2000 to 1,163 in 2016, the rate in Sub-Saharan African countries remains 91 researchers per inhabitant.
With the coronavirus pandemic, however, we can expect worse predictions for the coming months. The economic recession aggravated by the virus has directly impacted the world economy, especially the industry sector. In Brazil, data released by the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo showed that there was a 27% drop in industrial production between April 2020 and 2019, reinforcing a sequence of historical retractions.
COVID-19 has reformulated the way we work, keep in touch and consume. That is why creating solutions that can reduce distances, collect data safely and offer affordable alternatives are each day more necessary. For this reason, our team of experts has been working at full speed to map solutions, whether new or existing, to help the health, the economy, the public safety and even the education of cities in this moment of crisis, mitigating the coronavirus effects.
Bright Cities knows that an inclusive and sustainable industrialization, together with innovation and infrastructure, can unleash dynamic and competitive economic forces that generate jobs and income. The sector has a fundamental role in the introduction and promotion of new technologies, promoting income and allowing an efficient use of resources. It is the duty of cities, therefore, to find opportunities for improving urban services, and our platform is here to help.
Through our disruptive technology, we are able to list which urban areas should be improved and which solutions and technologies can improve a city’s management in the most efficient way. Those suggestions are presented in a personalized roadmap, that takes into account criteria such as the time of implementation, the cost and the impacts generated by the solutions presented. By working in close partnership with mayors and governors, we keep encouraging concrete actions towards the SDGs and public policies based on data collection.
To learn more about our work, you can check the special content we have prepared presenting the platform. Also, here on our News Platform, you can follow our content about the SDGs, where we address all the 17 UN Goals and the smart solutions that exist for each one of them!