How are cities managing and implementing the digital transformation?

5 April 2019

A very productive and inspiring Knowledge Society Forum (KSF) meeting took place in Eindhoven on 27-29 March 2019. The meeting focused on the cities’ implementation of digital transformation. Through political panel debates, LAB sessions and task force meetings, members exchanged and learned about concrete practices and policy initiatives on 5G, digital citizenship, digital transformation and readiness of society as well as on data privacy and protection.

The main highlights from the forum include:  

John Jorritsma, mayor of Eindhoven, launched the EUROCITIES principles on citizen data

With more data produced every day in our cities, there is a growing need for a socially responsible management and use of data-generated knowledge to improve decision making and enhance the efficiency of public services. The 10 principles give guidance to governments, companies and citizens on access, sharing and use of data generated by citizens and on how to deal with complex issues like privacy, protection, transparency and accountability as well as ethics. Mayor John Jorritsma in his speech said: ‘Today European cities are taking a step forward towards using data generated knowledge to improve urban life in cities while preserving citizens’ rights’.

Reinventing the Web!

Dreaming about being able to share information while preserving your privacy? Wishing to control your own data and share it with apps and people you want, instead having Facebook or LinkedIn decide for you? The SOLID, Social Linked Data, project is developing a platform aimed at allowing users to have full control of their own data, including access control and storage location. But it is not just software, it is an ecosystem, a community of digital players, who collaborate to help protect the integrity and quality of the new web.

23 cities across the world join forces to advance and protect digital human rights on the internet

The internet has become inseparable from people’s daily lives. Yet, every day, there are new cases of digital rights abuse and misuse. Ensuring universal and equal access to the internet, improving digital literacy, protecting privacy, data protection and security or encouraging participatory democracy, diversity and inclusion is still a great global challenge. Thanks to the support of EUROCITIES, UN-HABITAT and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, local governments at global scale are joining forces to exchange practices and learn from each other, but also to create policies and resources to promote and protect citizen rights online.

Implementing digital transformation, it is not just about technologies

Digital transformation has seen our cities advance enormously in terms of technological development but, what is the impact of digital transformation on people? What are citizens demands and expectations? The ‘our Manchester’ approach is based on regularly consulting citizens on their real needs and expectations and developing services in partnership with the voluntary sector and other providers. The local government encourages digital skills for all residents and is looking at new educational models (e.g. technology colleges), including continued investment in open access computers and wifi at its libraries.

The next  EUROCITIES Knowledge Society Forum meeting will take place in Cologne, 28-30 October 2019. The meeting will focus on disruptive technologies and citizen engagement.


Alex Godson Eurocities Writer