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City Data Commons against City Greenwashing

A street scene in Barcelona
Barcelona streets. Photo by Jorge Fernández Salas on Unsplash.

Cities are the platforms to save the planet, and a data commons is the best tool they have.

Cities are high on tech these days, and they are also rich in greenwashing rhetoric. Korea just invested $20 billion in a Smart City Ecosystem, and we’re seeing a wave of “green” smart-city projects like Nairobi’s Athi River City and Konza Technopolis, Prospera Tech City in Honduras, and the $500 billion Saudi-funded The Line project between Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt. All claim a smooth blend of tech and environmentally-friendly architecture, available for those who can afford it. Cities all over the world are racing to compete with each other on smartness and sustainability. However, with greater investment in smart-cities tech we need increased scrutiny into the incredible amount of public money invested in programs and to question the ownership of the data that is and will be generated by city-dwellers for years to come. 

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