The digital transformation is shaping the way city governments think and act. Increasingly, and at a faster rate due to the COVID-19 pandemic, city services are being made accessible online. Cities are innovating with new applications to map traffic congestion, partnering with local businesses to increase their range of service, or offering citizens a platform to have a direct and clear say in the running of their city.
And yet, digitalisation must be carefully considered – what of the online rights of citizens, how do we ensure the digital economy does not negatively impact people’s lives?
Many cities, such as Vienna, are the forefront of these debates. Take the impact of short term holiday rentals available through the likes of AirBnB, for instance. While the platform economy brings obvious benefits – in this instance cheap holidays, income for the property owner – it can also come at a cost, fior example by limiting the availability of housing stock and increasing rental values for local residents. All this and more must be carefully considered by city governments – which is why Vienna has launched its new website fairdigitaleurope.eu
The website launch is timely, given that the European Commission will soon present proposals for a new regulation for digital services in Europe, and is currently holding a public consultation.
The website, set up in collaboration with the Association of Austrian Cities and Towns and the Austrian Association of Public Companies, offers important content and documents, and is designed to facilitate networking with cooperation partners and to position local and regional interests at EU level.