Brazilian initiatives are finalists for awards for smart cities

Smart cities
Sheila Zabeu -

August 23, 2023

Three Brazilian projects were selected as semifinalists in the first edition of the Seoul Smart City Prize promoted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, in South Korea, and by the World Organization of Smart Sustainable Cities  (WeGO) foundation. The award aims to promote innovation in inclusive smart city models that are driven by Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to care for vulnerable groups. Believing that smart cities should be centered on both technology and people, the award includes two categories: Tech-InnovaCity and Human-CentriCity.

The Brazilian semifinalists are all in the people-centric category. One of the cities São Paulo, with its Accessible Services Network Map. It is an online map that geographically presents public facilities that provide services to people with disabilities. The main focus is on simplifying the search for information on accessibility in the city of São Paulo.

The second Brazilian initiative finalist for the award comes from Belo Horizonte, with its Digital Inclusion Program, which carries out actions to insert vulnerable populations into the ICT universe. The work is based on three pillars: connectivity, with the installation and maintenance of 3,700 free Internet access points that already cover 100% of the city’s villages and slums; distribution of 2,000 pieces of equipment, including computers, tablets and smartphones, which after being refurbished are donated to the families assisted by the project; and training through workshops and courses, with 9,300 certifications.

The third city is Curitiba, with its innovation ecosystem, Vale do Pinhão, created in 2017 to integrate innovation agents focused on the city and also invest in actions and programs that promote the development and growth of technology-based companies. The initiative has already received other international recognitions in the areas of smart cities, for innovations in urban mobility and for applying technology to improve people’s lives. The Curitiba innovation ecosystem was a finalist at the 2019 World Smart City Awards and won the 2021 Latam Smart City Awards.

The Seoul Smart City Awards received more than 200 entries from 47 countries and 93 cities across Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, North America and Oceania. To carry out the evaluation, the award committee partnered with the Center for International Development Evaluation (CIDE) at Seoul National University. The adopted methodology incorporates data collection and analysis processes to have indicators or variables that measure the circumstances or development potential of each city. In the methodology, the efforts employed in the construction of smart cities that are inclusive and centered on citizens were considered fundamental.

The award ceremony will be held from September 24 to 26 in Seoul. Winners will be able to participate in a capacity-building program in 2024, which will facilitate learning among leading cities and organizations and provide the opportunity to collaborate with the Seoul Metropolitan Government on a smart city project including various models, such as a feasibility study and implementation. -pilot, triangular cooperation and collaborative demonstration.

Smarter cities in São Paulo

At the beginning of August, around 3,500 engineers and technology and geoscience professionals who gathered at the Second Symposium on Smart Cities, promoted by the Regional Council of Engineering and Agronomy of the State of São Paulo (Crea-SP), to learn about the conclusion of a work whose mission was to identify and propose innovative solutions to transform São Paulo municipalities into smart cities.

The initiative included 90 days of discussions, in four regional stages of the College of Inspectors in the cities of Sorocaba, Atibaia, São José do Rio Preto and Jaguariúna, involving more than 2,000 professionals, including engineers, agronomists, geoscientists and technologists. After learning about the reality of each region of São Paulo, the groups produced technical reports on the themes of accessibility, agriculture and public policies, professional training, urban development and housing, female participation in technology and basic sanitation. The final report consolidates the main challenges, as well as proposals for improving the quality of life in cities according to the mapped demands.