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UN-Habitat announces its Artificial Intelligence Initiative in Shanghai

By on 04/27/2019

Shanghai, 26 April 2019— UN-Habitat convened an expert seminar of city leaders, planners, architects, academics and entrepreneurs in Shanghai Baoshan on how Artificial Intelligence could be a viable solution to urban challenges such as mobility, safety, efficiency, and inclusiveness. With the rapid development of new technologies such as 5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI), cloud computing, and Internet of Things(IoT), local economic development is provided with conditions for an exponential leap. As the launching meeting of UN-Habitat’s Urban Innovation Initiative—”Artificial Intelligence for Cities and Sustainable Communities”, this seminar will initiate the following selection of good practices on future cities, using artificial intelligence and other smart technologies on a global scale.

Marco Kamiya, the Coordinator of the UN-Habitat Urban Economy and Finance Branch, sent remarks to the meeting. He stated that UN-Habitat will continue to maintain the edge of working with local government to support the transformation of the global smart economy. Yoel Siegel, Senior Consultant to UN-Habitat, affirmed the contribution of Shanghai’s innovations to the UN’s new urban agenda.

The Secretary of Baoshan, Ms. Wang Hong emphasized: “Shanghai Baoshan has an heavy focus on the “AI +”mode to improve  urban planning, infrastructure development, and city management.” Xu Bin, the Vice President of Lingang Development Group, noted in his speech that the Nanda AI City project is the pioneering experiment of Shanghai Baoshan to integrate AI with Industries, as well as the city itself.

Chen Yixing, the deputy director of the CAUPD-Alibaba UrbanX Lab, gave a speech on “Towards the next 50 years – to create the micro prototype of the future city.” Many new technologies face enormous difficulties from the laboratory to real landing, including the adjustment of the established social system. Then she introduced the concept of a Living Lab. New technologies cannot be spread out in the whole city immediately, but a small comprehensive test of 3-5 square kilometers zone in the city can be built, so that iterative and systematic integration can be tested in the real urban life scenarios, thus forming the prototype of the future city.

Aidan Darker, Director of China Future Cities Programme from the British Embassy, presented the British engagement in China in future cities. Ke Fang, Manager of Implementation & Monitoring Unit from AIIB, and previously the Global Lead for Urban Mobility and Lead Transport Specialist, shared his analysis on smart transportation and mobility. Søren Boutrup, the Executive Director at Innovation Centre Denmark in Shanghai, shared Danish experience on urban sustainability and Danish support to SMEs in China.

UN-Habitat, as the lead UN agency for sustainable urban development goals, is committed to integrating global experience, promoting local economies and creating better urban life for humanity. We are happy to see every city in the world, regardless of its stage of development, more inclusive, prosperous, innovative and sustainable.

The theme of the first UN-Habitat Assembly in Nairobi from 27 – 31 May will be Innovation for better quality of life in cities. For more information please visit:

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