City Possible: Mastercard Launches Global Network for Urban Co-Development

Originally Published by Mastercard.

As urban leaders from around the world gather for Smart City Expo World Congress this week in Barcelona, Mastercard today launched a unique global network for urban co-development. As part of its City Possible program, Mastercard is connecting cities with academia and businesses to identify common challenges that can be best addressed through collaboration.


Sixteen cities are becoming founding members of the global City Possible network representing a diverse mix of geography and size: Athens, Aurora, IL, Baltimore, Dubai, Dublin, Helsinki, Honolulu, Kansas City, Melbourne, Prague, San Diego, and Altamonte Springs, FL, as well as the Greater Sydney communities of Campbelltown, Canterbury Bankstown, Liverpool, and Wollondilly. The network is open for additional cities to join.

“The superpower of cities is their freedom to collaborate allowing them to build on each other’s progress”, says Miguel Gamio, who heads up global city partnerships for Mastercard. “By bringing together city leaders from across the globe, City Possible promotes the sharing of ideas and best practices aimed at advancing more connected and inclusive urban communities. What unites all our public, private and academic partners is their commitment to make technology work for all people, and finding scalable solutions for universal needs.”

As a key component of City Possible, Mastercard is partnering with the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard University (TECH) which will host a series of programs to foster a regular learning exchange among global city leaders. The first convening will take place this week at Smart City Expo in Barcelona and focus on urban planning, mobility services and data insights. Participants will also have access to an online community where they can continue the dialogue with their peers.

“As urban areas around the world continue to grow, cities face common issues how to provide a healthy environment, safety, affordability and economic opportunity for their communities”, says Prof. David S. Ricketts, fellow at TECH. “Faced with limited resources and competing priorities, city leaders look for solutions that have been tested elsewhere. Through our learning exchanges, we want to equip CIOs and other urban leaders to better navigate this dynamic environment.”

When the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the United Nations in 2015, they called for “making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. In order to accelerate local level delivery of the SDGs, the United Nations Global Compact Cities Programme will work with City Possible. Through the collaboration with Mastercard, participating cities can access the City Possible network to identify shared challenges and seek sustainable business models to address them.

“Knowledge sharing and robust relationship building between the private sector, civil society, and local and territorial governments is vital for achieving the SDGs and this mind-set sits at the heart of the Local 2030 initiative”, comments Michael Nolan, director of the Global Compact Cities Programme. “We are thrilled at the opportunity to work with Mastercard through their City Possible program to build the capacity of our city partners to create transformative projects that can attract investment and advance local delivery of the Global Goals.”

Once key challenges that are shared by cities across the globe have been identified, City Possible will provide a framework for co-creating, testing and scaling solutions connecting cities with private sector players that are equally committed to people-centered design. By closely collaborating with companies such as Microsoft, HERE Technologies and now also IDEMIA, Mastercard works to address urban challenges in a more holistic way.

“As the global leader in Augmented Identity, IDEMIA has the ambition to provide a secure environment enabling citizens and consumers alike to perform their daily critical activities such as pay, connect, travel and vote in the physical as well as digital space”, comments Nathalie Oestmann, SVP Global Innovation Strategy for Financial Institutions activities at IDEMIA. “We look forward to building on our long-standing relationship with Mastercard in order to shape future banking and payment experiences in an increasingly urbanized world.”

One of the areas that exemplifies the advantages of city-to-city collaboration is public transit. After Mastercard had helped Transport for London (TfL) to transform its ticketing system by introducing contactless technology in 2014, cities around the world including Sydney, Singapore, Vancouver, Boston and New York have adopted or embraced solutions that are using the same global standard. Other areas where cities and people could benefit from greater efficiency and better, more inclusive experiences include the disbursement of social benefits and a unified access to municipal services.

From November 13 15, Mastercard will be participating in Smart City Expo World Congress, an annual global gathering of urban and business leaders. At the event, Mastercard invites delegates to experience City Possible through a series of talks and demos.

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