Dubai: A report released on Wednesday found that four out of five (79%) residents in the UAE believe they’d be happy living in a smart city
Mastercard, Smart Dubai and Expo 2020 Dubai have jointly launched the ‘Building the Cities of the Future’ report to better understand the pulse of UAE citizens and residents in shaping the future development of smart cities.
The top three resident expectations of a smart city were environmentally friendly business practices, paperless government services, and fast, affordable, city-wide internet connectivity. The majority (67%) of respondents shared that they expect their smartphones to be the primary channel to access city services. Respondents cited ultra-fast mobile connections, driverless taxis, and virtual medical diagnoses from AI doctors as the most exciting innovations in the cities of the future.
“Consumers are clear about their expectations, and it is the responsibility of the private and public sectors to come together to build inclusive, dynamic cities,” said Elias Aad, Vice President, Head of Strategic Growth Business, MENA, Mastercard.
Sustainability is key
The study found that an overwhelming segment (53%) of UAE respondents consider living in a sustainable city as the most exciting innovation in future smart cities, and this increases with respondents’ age.
Over half (54%) of respondents expect COVID-19 to accelerate the development of smart cities, and many respondents also report that they expect habits adopted during the pandemic to change their behavior permanently.
The top three trends expected to continue are working from home (27%), less cash and the preference of card, contactless and electronic payments (21%) and an increase in online shopping with reduced shopping trips to malls (15%).
Expos play a part
“Sustainability is integrated throughout Expo 2020 Dubai, creating meaningful impact and inspiring the global community to take action towards a cleaner, safer, healthier future. It is extremely encouraging that people consider sustainable practices as vital to their cities of the future,” said Iman Alomrani, Deputy Chief Technology Officer, Expo 2020 Dubai.
“World Expos have influenced the development of cities for 170 years through iconic structures and advances in technology and engineering,” he added.
Expo 2020 Dubai, which will run from October 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022, is expected to attract millions of travelers and investors to the Gulf hub.