Smart Cities Scenarios in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond

The international panel “Smart Cities Scenarios in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond” was held on Wednesday, March 10. The panel organized by Tehran Municipality ICT Organization (TMICTO) and Center for Progress and Development of Iran (CPDI).
The panelist were Oliver Rosenberg, Head of the Department of Health and e-Government in Vienna, Dr. Lee Jae-Yong, Head of Smart City Research Center in South Korea, Anil Bansal, Senior Advisor of the Smart City Program of India, and Dr. Mohammad Farjood, CEO of the Tehran Municipality Information and Communication Technology Organization (TMICTO). They shared their viewpoints and experiences regarding the response of smart cities to the outbreak of Covid-19 disease. Also, Zoheir Sabbaghpour Azarian, Deputy Minister of International Affairs of Tehran Municipality Communication Center, was the panel moderator.

Initially, Dr. Lee Jae Yong addressed the main vision for smart city development, including three strategic steps: “building technology infrastructure”, “improving management and governance” and “sustainable development and innovation”. He went on to describe the country’s smart cities against Covid-19 in three areas of “governance”, “legal structure” and “data-driven platform”. Accordingly, the cooperation of the government bodies in preventing the spread of the virus and in the treatment phase, along with the cooperation of the citizens, was mentioned as the most important factors of success against Covid-19 disease.
Next, Oliver Rosenberg spoke about smart and digital health systems developed in Vienna and Austria. According to him, intelligent epidemic reporting systems were developed before the corona outbreak in Austria. At the same time as the outbreak of the coronavirus, the city of Vienna began to develop smart patient tracking systems to prevent the spread of the disease and also, introduced a smart homecare application during quarantine. Currently, registration and scheduling of patients for vaccination is on the agenda of the city.

Then, Anil Bansal mentioned the five areas of “food supply chain mechanism”, “retail infrastructure”, “mobility”, “healthcare” and “water supply & sanitation” to have a key role in controlling the spread of corona-virus. In this regard, focusing on sanitized contact-less mechanisms with minimum human interface is considered as the main strategy. Reviewing the executive measures in India, he cited many items like development of large quarantine parks in place of quarantine centers, data management in terms of linking the health data with every individual’s unique identification cards, and adding more capacity to the hospitals. He also mentioned the smartening of burials and cremation, as well as deploying smart touch-free public toilets. Heading up to the post-pandemic area, he mentioned the deployment of smart infrastructure, data management, and data security, among the important actions.

Dr. Mohammad Farjood, as the last speaker of this panel, after reviewing the Smart Tehran program, addressed the interactions between smart cities and Covid-19. After categorizing the measures taken worldwide to combat the pandemic, Farjood explained the six key measures taken by the Tehran Municipality in the field of smart city to combat this virus. These six key actions were the “My Tehran” citizen services platform, the “Shahr-Pay” payment platform, the cycling development program with the aim of promoting social distance, smart waste collection management, providing online funeral services in Behesht Zahra, and open data. The last part of this presentation was dedicated to the impact of Covid-19 on the development of smart cities. Reviewing the future of technology in smart cities, he stressed that with the outbreak of coronavirus, cities were forced to accept the digital transformation as a tool to meet the change in citizen behavior in using a variety of digital services. Technology can accelerate the development of digital technologies and services in the post-pandemic era and, consequently, improve the quality of life of citizens. Finally, the possible futures for the post-pandemic era were examined in terms of the level of governance intervention in data governance and the level of data sharing between citizens, businesses and urban management. It was stated that the adoption of appropriate policies and regulations in the field of data governance, alongside with sharing more data between smart city stakeholders will lead to the development of digital services in cities.
You can access the recording of the Tehran COVID Panel (10th March 2021) via the below link: