Blockchain for smart sustainable cities

Ben Dhaou, Soumaya and Backhouse, Judy (2020). Blockchain for smart sustainable cities. United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC). International Telecommunication Union.

Document type:

  • Sub-type Research report
    Author Ben Dhaou, Soumaya
    Backhouse, Judy
    Title Blockchain for smart sustainable cities
    Series Title United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC)
    Publication Date 2020-11
    Place of Publication Geneva
    Publisher International Telecommunication Union
    Pages VII, 101
    Language eng
    Abstract As the world is exploring new methods to face pre-existing urban challenges, the concept of "smart cities" can offer guidance on making cities more resilient and responsive to crises. In the current scenario, global crises and their human and economic impact have also provided a new impetus for the uptake of digital tools and emerging technologies. The coupling of artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of things (IoT) in the urban ecosystem has brought about an unprecedented demand for ensuring the transparency, security and privacy of data. These frontier technologies, combined with blockchain, have become promising tools capable of addressing global urban expectations. To this end, blockchain has found a wide spectrum of applications within the cities, encompassing a diversity of public services from health and finance to education and energy, among others. This makes blockchain a critical technology in the effort of making cities more sustainable by addressing several targets stipulated in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Sustainable Development Goal 11 on Sustainable Cities and Communities, for the establishment of smart cities. This report delves into the current advancements and applications of blockchain in smart cities, across the various verticals. It further explores the role played by blockchain technologies in designing an efficient, secure and scalable distributed architecture to address the significant challenges on interoperability protocols, security and privacy, data collection and sharing, data analytics, and latency within smart cities. As a stepping-stone for the penetration of blockchain technologies into the global smart city agenda, this report underscores a series of use-cases highlighting the adoption of this technology into various spheres. Building on the analysis of the use-cases, the report also identifies promising areas for future research in this domain. Based on the analysis of the use-cases in terms of the challenges, opportunities and lessons learned, this report demonstrates the complexity of the blockchain for cities and proposes the 4S (Situation, Sustainability, Smartness, and Suitability) framework by highlighting the critical dimensions and patterns for the application of blockchain in smart cities. Blockchain-based smart city initiatives are complex and compel the involvement of multiple stakeholders, and require different types of expertise. For further progress on the blockchain front, building an ecosystem to share knowledge and expertise as well as developing capabilities is critical. It is also essential to enable new opportunities for collaboration that will require defining an adequate governance model, aligning all the stakeholders to a shared vision for the city, and creating an appropriate regulatory framework that provides flexibility for future innovation. Accordingly, the report concludes with a sequence of research-driven policy recommendations that should be incorporated by the urban stakeholders and decision-makers for embracing the required frameworks and translating them into action plans to facilitate blockchain use within the realm of smart cities. It is expected that low- and middle- income countries will face significant challenges related to creating a conducive ecosystem for the appropriate use of blockchain technologies, which requires substantial investment in digital infrastructure as well as technology transfer. Efforts in this direction are expected to enable the development of initiatives using blockchain that could support cities as well as rural areas and communities, to face economic, social and environmental challenges (in line with the Sustainable Development Goals).
    UNBIS Thesaurus CITIES
    Keyword research line governance
    research line technology
    Copyright Holder International Telecommunication Union
    Copyright Year 2020
    Copyright type Fair use permitted
    ISBN 9789261321215
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    Created: Thu, 03 Dec 2020, 01:45:21 JST by Mario Peixoto on behalf of UNU EGOV