The 21st century is a markedly urban century. According to the United Nations, in July 2007 the world’s urban population overtook the rural population for the first time. This urban population has grown rapidly from 746 million people in 1950 to 3.9 billion in 2014. Moreover, this proportion is expected to increase dramatically to the point that by 2050 almost 70% of the world population will be urban and many cities will have over 10 million inhabitants. It is estimated that by 2025 there will be 221 cities of more than 10 million inhabitants in China alone. Cities worldwide currently consume 75% of the world’s resources and energy and generate 80% of greenhouse gases, whilst they occupy only 2% of the world’s territory.
Students, as representatives of the young population, must for these reasons shift their focus to the development of a strategy for European cities. Such a strategy must address the various challenges which face the construction and management of all types of urban infrastructure. Information and communications technology must form an essential role in the response to these challenges.
The European People’s Party is,
- Acknowledging that cities have a major impact on the economic and social development of nations and regions;
- Recognising the fact that cities are major centres of resource consumption;
- Acknowledging the important role of the Committee of the Regions in the development of local communities;
- Considering that cities are platforms where people work and study, where companies carry on their business and in which numerous services are provided; and
- Considering the need for evolution in the management models of cities facing a growing demand for efficiency and resources;
Call on the European Union, the Committee of the Regions and the public administrations of all Member States to:
- Encourage European cities to become digital platforms that supplement the economy, society, environment and welfare of these cities, and facilitate the shift towards more sustainable behaviour among all stakeholders, including users, companies and administrative bodies;
- Enhance investment in human and social capital, and in communications infrastructure, in order to encourage sustainable economic development and a higher quality of life, with judicious management of natural resources through participatory government;
- Provide urban administrations with the support they require to identify the needs of their cities and the services required to meet those needs;
- Enhance urban mobility policies through real time traffic management, and improved public transport management, car park management, fleet management, management of the use of bicycles, support in the use of electric vehicles, tracking applications and logistics, and car sharing services;
- Create energy efficiency mechanisms and, more generally, systems for the sustainable management of resources such as a smart energy grid, smart metering, urban waste collection and processing, management of public parks and gardens, and the measuring of environmental parameters;
- Improve the management of public emergency services, law enforcement and video-surveillance; and
- Enhance the awareness of citizens of the environment in which they live by providing information that flows in real time and which improves the transparency of their urban administration.