The world is becoming increasingly urbanized. With more than 55% of the world’s population living in urban centres, the World Bank estimates that cities are responsible for over 80% of global GDP. The story is no different for Canada, where cities are expected to generate the majority of economic activity and job growth in the coming years. In fact, by 2023, ICTC estimates that under a moderate economic growth scenario, the demand for talent across the digital economy will reach 305,000, and much of this labour will be rooted in urban centres around the country. Ensuring that our urban spaces are equipped with the necessary physical and digital infrastructure to effectively respond to and capitalize on these changes is key for a smart future that prioritizes economic growth, environmental sustainability, and technological progress.
The first in a series of five Smart City Policy Roundtables, ICTC hosted a Smart Infrastructure Roundtable in November 2019. The roundtable engaged with 30 thought leaders from across Canada, with areas of expertise in physical infrastructure, digital infrastructure, security and privacy, regulation, and talent readiness. The following central topics were explored during this roundtable: physical infrastructure, digital infrastructure, key regulatory concerns and considerations, and talent needs.
This brief highlights lessons learned and important recommendations, with the purpose of supporting policy directives that can enable strong and sustainable infrastructure in Canada’s smart cities.