Embracing Austerity: How Will Cities Innovate?
As cities face the biggest fiscal crisis in a generation or more, technology and innovation programs are among the first on the chopping block. Yet as European cities’ experience over the last decade has shown, it is possible to push an urban tech agenda forward under austerity. Cornell Tech Urbanist-In-Residence Anthony Townsend led a conversation with Sascha Haselmayer, the founder and CEO of CityMart and a New America Foundation fellow, discussing how cities can empower social entrepreneurs to co-produce government innovation.
Key takeaways from the discussion:
- Structural shortcomings in local government are a persistent obstacle to urban tech adoption.
- In the UK, procurement reforms allowed some local governments to embrace austerity budgets by tapping social entrepreneurs and co-production of services.
- A shift in incentives from procurement transactions to service delivery is needed.
- Urban tech must avoid overselling its cost-cutting potential in the near future.